I’m glad you wrote about this, because this is what I was attempting to get at least week. I will circle back to your Light Box example at the end, but I want to say that I think the functional properties of achieving biomimicry are far more important than any other qualities. Maybe it’s just my personal viewpoint, but I fear that if we design everything to mirror the natural world and its systems we will create this illusion of completely bringing nature indoors. Or creating a biomimic cloud over our eyes, if you will.
My argument the other day was that by simply trying to exemplify and show nature, we aren’t really solving a problem but rather creating a new one. At least in my mind whether it be by using natural materials, or engraving them, or using digital means of representation, we are making as you called it “Artificial Nature”. Too often I worry that we are moving in a direction where we will eventually just try to emulate an outdoor appearing environment and place it indoors.
While I won’t argue that buildings would not have the possibility to become healthier, it is important that we never try to ”replace” nature. When looking at nature as a mentor, “Biomimicry is a new way of viewing and valuing nature. It introduces an era based not on what we can extract from the natural world, but what we can learn from it” (1). In the example of the Light Box we would be learning from nature how decreased light reduces melatonin levels. We would then be integrating this knowledge back into our biological cycle through the use of the Light Box. I think you hit it all when you said, “while the Light Box has almost zero biological relationship to the actual sun, the important part is that this fake little representation of nature actually has very real benefits.” Perfectly stated.