Wild Design 

Exhibition now closed 12 Mar – 1 Oct 2003 & 23 Jun 2004 – 22 Jun 2005
Free entry
Nature; Arts 

The return of Wild Design: A fresh look at nature gives visitors to Te Papa another chance to experience this popular exhibition. Celebrate the intricate designs of the natural world, and looks at how these have been reflected in human art and design.

The exhibition begins by introducing the natural environment as you may have never seen it before. Magnified photographs show minuscule parts of nature enlarged so that their structures and patterns become objects of beauty. Visitors will be able to compare themselves to a human-sized fly, see 108 different kinds of beetles, and get a close-up view of a sea-lion louse. And did you know that snails have teeth?

Shell Hawaii. Gift of Erskine College, 1986. Te Papa
Shell Hawaii. Gift of Erskine College, 1986. Te Papa

Large graphics fill section two, where comparisons are made between structures in nature and human design. For example, a magnified photograph of pollen is compared to the Sagrada Familia cathedral (Barcelona, Spain), DNA is compared to the bridge over the Firth of Forth (Scotland) and the curve of a staircase is compared to a spiral shell.

Beautiful decorative arts by Minton, Doulton, Bianchini Férier, and some of New Zealand’s leading artists and craftspeople are showcased in section three, a place where visitors can see how aesthetic works show the influence of nature.

The exhibition is made up of objects from Te Papa’s natural environment, history, and art and visual culture collections.