Developing an interest in Designing Ecosystems in the Amazon

Something that I had not planned was my trip to the Amazon during my time in Brazil. After the Instituto Nokia de Tecnologia INDT in Recife’s collaboration with The Design Doctor, they invited me to Manaus in the heart of the Amazon. Thanks to them, that last week in Brazil was truly amazing. Manaus can only be reached by air and boat, and on the flight I’ve never seen so many trees.

I know that, for me, the best way to slow down and see is to sketch and just listen. I took this opportunity to see Brazil from a different angle, as you can only get to Manaus by boat or flight, and I would get out my sketch book, with no Internet connection for three full days. I also had some time to understand the ecosystem, as I’ve always been interested in biology. So below are some of my sketches.

Where the rivers meet, two large ecosystems come together slowly over the course of 15km, so you see two different colours of rivers; where the Negro and Solimões rivers meet.

2012-09-19 10.00.16

One thing I did not realise about the Amazon is that for some parts of the year the trees can be completely under water, and this was the time of year I was visiting. Because of this you get vegetarian fish with different shaped teeth, eating the trees – and their meat is more like tuna to eat!

2012-09-19 10.00.05

On one of the trips on the boat, which was the main mode of transport in the flooded water, we came across birds that could not fly but just jump.

2012-09-19 10.02.48

I’ll always be happy to talk more about this amazing time in the rainforest, but I just loved learning about and understanding our natural ecosystems. For a long time before I came there was not a lot a rain, but having just had a big flood (which had left villages having to rebuild), it help the fish move around and get back to their normal habitats. The Amazon is all about balance, ecosystems swing back and forth and interact, and one is never allowed to get too large or small, allowing harmony to flourish. If one element of the ecosystem gets too big, all the elements of the ecosystem do not gain value, which results in the biggest element of the system being killed off. This experiences led to these questions: ‘How do you design an ecosystem?’, ‘What can design learn with biology?’ and ‘How do we explore/map ecosystems?’. On a quick search, I came across a talk called ‘The new business ecosystem – model of collaboration innovation’ free on Itunes, which partly provided a responds to my first question.

Comments are closed.