Austrian designer Thomas Traxler created a ‘Curiosity Cloud’ to raise awareness about threats to our natural world. Each bulb holds a handmade insect. All are species native to New York, and are endangered, or extinct.

“We wanted to show kind of the impact the humans have on nature even insects even though they are so small and kind of invisible to us they are so important for the biodiversity,” said designer Thomas Traxler.

The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum regularly stages a blockbuster exhibit featuring the best in contemporary design.

This latest Design Triennial features designers addressing the environmental challenges facing the world in often colorful and inventive ways.

“This Michelen tire behind me is another 3d printing. There's no air inside of it and the idea is you can print different treads depending on the weather. It never becomes flat and it is completely durable,” said Curator Matilda McQuaid.

So the tires won't end up in landfills.

The featured designers tackle issues of climate change, waste and more.

This design uses bacteria as a renewable energy source.

“There's soil in there, there's bacteria and there's nutrients in there that is sort of feeding the bacteria and the metabolic activity of that bacteria creates an energy that then creates a light source,” said McQuaid.

A lot of this exhibit seems futuristic but some of these designs are being used right now including some here in the city.

“We have a client that's putting together a building in New York City. They're dedicating some space for the monarch butterflies so inside the skin of that building we're creating a sanctuary essentially a vertical meadow with all the habitat quality necessary to keep butterflies happy,” said Dr. Mitchell Joachim, Architect and Urban Designer of Terreform ONE.

Terreform ONE is an architecture think tank that advances ecological design says this habitat will be as good for people as it is for the monarchs.

“People who have office space in the building will look out onto a butterfly garden,” said Joachim.

Organizers say these designs make complex scientific and technological discoveries understandable to all of us.

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