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Sustainable Living / Environmental Preservation / Urban Sustainable Design

IDA Design Awards 2022



Built Environment Award

Core77 Design Awards 2022


European Product Design Awards 2022


Fast Company


In the SCAD 2022 Student Catalog pgs 76-77

Synergy is a self-sustaining, light refractive system inspired by the wings of the Blue Morpho butterfly and its microstructural makeup. The butterfly's wing structure generates dynamic reflectivity crucial to its survival. With a focus on the urban environment, we sought solutions to nighttime light pollution, smog emissions at traffic stops, fossil fuel consumption for electricity, disrupted circadian rhythms, and artificial sky glow. Overall, Synergy replaces artificial light as a multi-temporal and multi-modal lighting solution by utilizing multiple technologies that meet multiple needs at various scales.

Biomimicry Methodology (2021) 
Biomimetic Design |  Bio-assisted Technology | Lighting & Carbon Solution

The core of biomimetic practice is not the question of what we can extract from nature, but what we can learn from nature and its 3.85 billion year old genius. How can nature serve as a blueprint to seek, design, and implement sustainable solutions that are conducive to life?

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- The Biomimicry Institute on Biomimicry



project duration

Stefanie Perosa and Devin Rooney

Under the direction of Professor Scott Boylston

10 weeks

my role

Problem Identification

Understanding urban smog, artificial skyglow, and energy consumption and sharing information with team.


Problem-solving for algae configuration. Brought fiber optics and natural light into the underground subway system. Offered feedback on industrial modeling led by Devin. Honed storytelling and messaging.


Analyzed the viability of our design against Life's Principles and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Process Book

All copy, formatting, and editing

Full Map Render

First shot at a full render to communicate the above and below ground view of our system.

Design Research

Secondary research on the Blue Morpho butterfly, skylights, fiber optics, existing biomimetic architecture, light optimization, and our proposed subway station.


All script-writing, narration, and editing


Nominated by SCAD Industrial Design Faculty to submit Synergy to several competitions including Core77, European Product Design Awards, International Design Excellence, Fast Company: World Changing Ideas, and Red Dot Design Awards

Assembled all written content for award submissions.

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biology to design

Biology to Design is a process open to any designer or creative who may be inspired by or driven to include a biological function into a design without a specific or defined context or problem to solve. The spiral to the left shows the general, non-linear steps by which a designer may go about this process. Synergy's formation was developed after the steps of discovering and scoping. Once we carefully identified, researched, and abstracted the light refractive strategy of the Blue Morpho butterfly, we began to scope out problems and contexts that this strategy could solve for, and ideate and evaluate solutions. 


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  • Blue morpho (Morpho Menelaus) butterfly wings have a layered microstructure that diffract light waves.

  • Chitin scales are organized in overlapping rows. Each scale has thousands of structural ridges.

  • Light gets reflected through the layered ridges, cancelling out some light wavelengths while intensifying others.

  • Blue is the color perceived by the human eye.



Scales of Blue morpho butterfly wings refract light to create dynamic reflectivity. 


Refract light and repel water.


Ridged structures arranged in overlapping rows refract light and manipulate color. 


Urban Traffic

the problem

Traces of artificial light pollution can persist from a city center out to over 40 miles away. As a result, 83% of the world lives under an artificial haze of light. This can be harmful to the retina over time, drive away pollinators, and even provoke disorientation and death in animals. Furthermore, cities consume over two-thirds of the world's energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions. 

Our current energy practices are not only detrimental to the planet and our health, but also to our pockets. An aggressive push towards 100% renewable energy would save Americans as much as $321bn. We aimed to develop solutions that mitigate, adapt, and create renewable accessible energy in an interactive way.

the solution



Life's Principles are the guides by which all true biomimetic designs are measured. Synergy Multimorph System incorporates these principles that work with nature rather than against it. Proper integration of these principles ensures solutions are strategic, innovative, impactful, and sustainable.


By designing for and with Life's Principles, Synergy Multimorph System:

  • can appropriately respond to dynamic contexts

  • fits into and integrates with the surrounding environment

  • invests optimally in strategies that promote both development and growth

  • uses chemistry that supports life's processes

  • skillfully and conservatively takes advantage of resources and opportunities

  • continually incorporates and embodies information to ensure enduring performance


Through this process, our team learned that biological functions designed in collaboration can create an extraordinary system. As a team and designers, we must always remember that within every system is yet another dynamic system, and when natural and man-made systems are combined, they have the potential to help one another to create innovative, diverse solutions with a wide variety of applications and impact.


For a more detailed understanding of our process, feel free to view our book. You'll find that since completing our book, Synergy and our communication has greatly developed!

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