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  • Lawrence Grown

Highlighting Chilopod Members: Lawrence Grown

Updated: May 20, 2022

Hi there! This is the Chilopod gang, from Berkeley, CA. We decided to create a series highlighting some of the top notch people working on the Chilopod. Logically, the best person to start this off would be the mastermind behind the project, as without him, this wouldn't even be a thing. If you would like to meet Lawrence and ask about his vision, or any of the Chilopod team members, please join us at our dance party on May 12th, at Metro Lighting. Tickets are on sale now, so gram 'em while they last from

Now, without further ado, here's our own Lawrence, in his own words:

My name is Lawrence Grown, and I am a designer of objects and spaces. I’ve been passionate about organic architecture since my freshman year of architecture school many years ago. While in college I designed skycrapers structured like sand worms and a hillside community based on sea fan coral. In Berkeley I contributed to “the Fish House.” But I didn’t see enough demand for my style of home design to build a career.

Thus, I founded Metro Lighting 25 years ago and it continues to be a wonderful way to serve the community creatively. I’ve worked for thousands of lighting clients to realize their visions for their homes and restaurants.

During this time I have served the community in other capacities as well. I served on the board of directors at Nia House Preschool, and the Academic Choice Advisory Council at Berkeley High School. We’ve hosted annual fundraising events for Nia House Preschool and for Walden Center and School (K-6). I also founded the West Berkeley Design Loop, to support the local design community.

It was always my hope to find my way back to organic architecture. And when I went to Burning Man I recognized in it a large community that would welcome my unique way of thinking. Now I’m creating an interactive, architectural sculpture of my own design.

I believe in architecture that feels like it grew from the ground up, and that helps us connect to nature. You might already be familiar with terms like Green Building, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), Living Buildings, Biomorphic Design, Biophilic Design, Biomimicry, etc. All of these have become mainstream within the past 25 years and represent the trend toward organic design and construction.

The Chilopod is not just organic in form; it is sustainable in construction. If we raise enough funds we’ll be able to afford sustainably harvested woods, formaldehyde free plywood, and enough solar panels to power the lights directly from the sun. Global warming is a threat to our survival: this pilot project speaks to preserving our environment as we build.

Fully programmable LED lighting is on the forefront of design. It is energy efficient and interactive. Supporting this project builds a talented team of collaborators capable of offering interactive lighting systems to restaurants, gathering spaces, and homes into the future.

This project will premier at Burning Man, but our intention is to have it installed in public plazas around the Bay Area and beyond. The whimsical nature of a giant arthropod will appeal to kids and adults alike, and other organic designs may follow. Imagine talking with a giant insect or standing inside a whale skeleton in your favorite park. Projects like this can be integrated into public spaces, thus delighting and educating the public in organic and sustainable architecture.

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