Guest Groups: Science-Inspired Design Finds

Art and religion have influenced interior layout for centuries. Science, too, has impacted our houses, but often in such subtle ways that we do not notice. Advances in chemistry, physics, medicine and technology have given rise to new styles of furniture and impacted popular aesthetics.

Now we are seeing the world of science pop up into our homes in more obvious ways. Vintage scientific instruments and also prints are all right on trend. All these science-inspired goods are a terrific way to add personality to your property. — Lucy from Four Walls and a Roof

The Evolution Store

Flax Botanical Poster – $69

Botanical prints from the 1800s are all the rage at the moment. They have rich colors and exquisite detailing. Additionally, they are typically very reasonably priced. Framing multiple prints is a great way to cover a wall. I’m particularly drawn to those with black backgrounds.


Wire-Wrapped Magnifying Glass – $20

No botanist is observed without a magnifying glass. This would be great as part of a tray of curiosities on a coffee table. It would be useful for reading the small print also!


Nesting Scallop Bowls in Copper Blue by Element Clay Studio – $172

I am seriously wowed by ceramicist Heather Knight’s collection of pieces inspired by botanical forms and marine life. Her work reveals the details you might see under a microscope. These are known as Scallop Bowls, also you can see the shape of the monster clearly defined. I love the ocean-colored glaze too. I could happily find a house for her whole collection.

Paper Butterfly

Eight Butterflies – AUD 630

When I was a child, I remember a family friend who had a huge museum-worthy collection of butterflies. I was stunned by how beautiful these animals were up close. I’d never have a true butterfly framed, but these newspaper variations, made from classic magazines, are a lovely option.


Celestial Coasters – $32

Moving to geology, these coasters look like pieces of stone. They’re actually ceramic tile, but the result is quite spectacular.

The Evolution Store

Meteorite, Campo Del Cielo – $15,000

If you are a geology enthusiast, these pieces of meteorite, that apparently fell to ground 4,000 years ago, will pique your interest. Whether you’d recognize them as objects out of distance or not, they make fantastic mini sculptures. Be sure to check that some samples are legally obtained, because these are.


Vintage Retro Black Globe from Bellalulu Vintage

Moving from geology to geography: these classic globes are still as popular as ever. I’d love the black world in a fashionable office.

Majesty Maps & Prints

Blackout Maps – CAD 399

We have all seen channels used as wallpaper, but blackout maps deliver a new twist to an old favorite. Rendered in blue or black so that roads and other details stand out, I think these are an excellent combination of contemporary and classic. No doubt these will soon be as popular as the omnipresent black bus signs.

Natural Curiosities

Frost Maps, 1

If an earthly map is too mundane for you, how about a celestial one instead? These maps are based on 19th century prints demonstrating planetary movement. The theories they’re based on are outdated, but I believe they’re beautiful pieces of art.

Restoration Hardware

19th C. Parisian Brass Telescope – $2,995

If you are into stargazing, you want these. A telescope does the same thing to get a space as a grand piano. It informs visitors that this is no ordinary house — no TV dinners here, just fantastic conversation and exciting company.

Design Within Reach

Satellite Chandelier | Design Within Reach – $1,325

Space traveling itself had a huge influence on interior design. The Satellite Chandelier was inspired by Sputnik, which was launched in 1957. There are many designs based on this particular shape, but this one remains my favorite.


Geometric Domes – $1,950

Geometry is, clearly, a fundamental component of interior design. Every few seasons, geometric shapes make another comeback and look on everything from bed linens to vases. For more enduring style, how about those ancient 20th century wood cubes used for teaching geometry in schools?

The Library Shop

Decorated Phrenology Head in two dimensions – $60

Phrenology is the study of the mind, and phrenologist minds have been a big hit in the last several years. This one by Roost is a particular favorite. The butterfly theme softens the look and makes it a fairly talking point for any mantelpiece.

Beaker Glass Tube Wall Vase – $2.95

This would not be a scientific roundup without test tube vases. Hang several of these from the bathroom window, or use a row of these with cheery Gerberas from kitchen.


Vintage Reproduction Industrial Lab or Factory Stool – $299

These classic laboratory stools would add scientific trendy to a kitchen. I can imagine them complementing open shelves made with reclaimed wood along with a display of medicine bottles. What a terrific way to encourage culinary experiments.

Glass Jar Pendants – $99

These jar pendant lights look like they came out of a chemistry laboratory, and they’d look fantastic in the kitchen — perhaps over a scrubbed wood dining table?


Hour/15 Minute Glasses – $9.95

Here’s a modern spin on an old egg timer. According to laboratory beakers, it might finish a science-inspired kitchen. I love the unusual bit of green sand.


Beads Penta Pendant by Innermost – $2,155.50

Moving on again, this time from chemistry to biology. This chandelier resembles clustered cells. It has sparkle and form, and I imagine it’d cast an other-worldly mild on any dining table.


Vintage eames splint – $995

And now, to medicine. Did you know that Charles and Ray Eames perfected the molded plywood method (the one that resulted in their iconic chairs) by making WWII splints? Some of those splints have been made available for sale, and Eames lovers are displaying them as wall sculpture and art. These splints aren’t best for the faint-hearted, however they do make a striking display.


Soul Cushion – EUR 80

Leaping forward to now, take into consideration the influence that computer science has had on layout. Well, that’s possibly the topic of some other ideabook entirely, but I’ll leave you with these cushions which are made to resemble a pixelated picture. Pixels are to style now what atoms were in the Atomic Age: a source of inspiration and wonder and also a very important part of popular culture.

More: Science Meets Design

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