Session Information

The Essence of Ecology: How Culture, Community and Conservation are Expressed in Sustainable Products, The Interface Story, and More

Date: Thursday, March 3

Time: 8:15am - 9:30am

Format: SPARK Talk

Immerse yourself in the design vision of Pond Studios.  David Oakey, is a passionate advocate for how businesses, designers, and educators can learn from nature. This visual, tactile and inspiring session shall speak to how nature’s design principles and of nature herself can be expressed in sustainable products. David will share the abundance of endlessly-renewable, continually-inspiring natural world and the practice of biomimicry as a dynamic solution to design, manufacturing, and business problems, in partnership with nature. Dive In!

Topic Speakers

David Oakey, founder of David Oakey Designs is the exclusive product designer for Interface and Flor since 1994, leading global efforts in sustainable or “smart” design, learning from nature, the study of biomimicry. 

When Interface founder Ray Anderson declared his company would be sustainable and closed loop by 2020, Oakey and his team quickly identified sustainable design must be innovative utilizing efficient use of materials, seeking smart products and eliminating waste during the process. Oakey is passionate following his steps to sustainability through process, product and people. 

Educated in carpet design at Kidderminster College, Oakey pursued his entrepreneurial dream establishing David Oakey Designs in 1985. Structured for integrated design and development programs, Oakey has created an award winning work environment for design research. 

Oakey and his philosophies have been featured in Business Week, Fast Company, Interior Design Magazine, New York Times Science, Green Futures Magazine, I.D. Magazine, and The Smithsonian Magazine.

David Oakey has designed for international companies including Interface, Aquafil, DuPont, Heuga in Holland, Collins & Aikman, Atlas, Mohawk, Milliken, Wilton Royal in the UK, and EGE in Denmark.

His inspirational presentations have influenced companies like Nike, Walmart, Boeing, and British Petroleum to name a few, as well as many universities listed on

Pond Studios is the soul of David Oakey Designs, an early bio-inspired office, winning an AIA award in 1997. In conjunction with biomimicry, biophilia is at the deep-rooted core, the essence of David Oakey Designs’ design process. We live it and work it at Pond Studios, a truly biophilic architectural space. In the year 2000, Business Week named David Oakey Designs as one of the top offices to work for in the United States, for bringing nature indoors. 

David Oakey was one of the early adopters of biomimicry, working together with Janine Benyus since 1998. Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies.  The goal is to create products, processes, and policies – new ways of living – that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.

David currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Biomimicry Institute.