The Elements in Design
Artists, designers and architects work with the elements of nature.
Aristotle's main thought was that all materials are manifestations of different compositions of the elements. For him, the world is not what it outwardly seems: A stone is not just a stone - it is composed of a mixture of elements which we cannot see. This idea of Aristotle was the great motivation for the early alchemists: If the world consists of underlying elements, then materials could be transformed by changing their underlying composition. The idea that man could re-compose matter was revolutionary. When man can make and re-make matter, then the world was no more just a playground for the gods. Today’s nanomaterials are the result of a quest which began with Plato, and today’s quantum fluctuations might be what is going on in Plato’s first matter, the ‘aether’.