An Interdisciplinary Project Exploring
Material Systems
We developed six categories to describe and distinguish the collected specimens.
  • Material
  • Tile Shape
  • Tile-Tile Interaction
  • Grain
  • Pattern & Layout
  • Function

The aim of this website is to create a diverse catalogue of natural tessellated systems, to highlight the ubiquity and diversity of the tessellation motif, and to open a door to curious minds, inspiring novel research, design and collaboration. This project is a collaboration of perspectives from distinct but complementary fields, including biology, design and engineering. We hope you discover a new interest or favorite creature on your visit. If you have additional content you would like to suggest, please get in touch!

Responsible Persons and Contributors
MA04_Felix_Rasehorn_HU_Zoologische Sammlung_Armadillo_GurtleBand.jpg
Felix Rasehorn (1)
Jana Ciecierska-Holmes (2)
Nikolai Rosenthal (2)
(in alphabetical order)
Mason Dean (2)
Lennart Eigen (3)
John Nyakatura (3)
Mai-Lee Van Le (3)
Binru Yang (2)
(1) weißensee school of art and design berlin
(2) Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces
(3) Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Comparative Zoology
OneZoom Core Team (2021)
Each card in the collection has a link to the OneZoom Tree of Life Explorer (Version 3.5,, allowing you to learn about each taxonomic group, but also to explore the entire Tree of Life in a completely new way, similar to viewing a geographical map. Please see also “OneZoom: A Fractal Explorer for the Tree of Life.” PLoS Biol 10(10): e1001406.(2012) by James Rosindell and Luke Harmon.
Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity. Image Space Material«
The group acknowledges the support of the Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity. Image Space Material« funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) under Germany's Excellence Strategy – EXC 2025 – 390648296.
Please cite this online archive as:
Rasehorn, F. (1),
Ciecierska-Holmes, J. (2),
Rosenthal N. (2)
(in alphabetical order),
Dean, M. (2),
Eigen, L. (3),
Nyakatura, J. (3),
Le, M.-L. V. (3),
Yang B. (2)
The Tessellation Archive. Design Project.
(1) weißensee school of art and design berlin;
(2) Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces;
(3) Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Comparative Zoology, online publication.
Funded by DFG. Virtual.
Contributors (in alphabetical order):
Dr Shahrouz Amini (MPIKG)
Dr Assaf Gal (Weizmann Institute of Science)
Prof Anne Jantschke, JGU Mainz: Institute for Biosciences
Dr Matthew Kolmann (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology)
Dr Nayeon Lee (Mississippi State University)
Ramon Nagesan (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology)
Markus Nolf (
Dr Fabio Nudelman (School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh)
Dr Daniel Paluh (University of Florida)
Prof Gerhard Scholtz (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Prof James Weaver (SEAS Harvard)
Charlett Wenig (MPIKG/MoA)
Dr Bodo Wilts (University of Salzburg)
A majority of the images are licensed under Creative Commons: image creator and license information can be found in the name of each image file when the image is downloaded. Some images have been provided by private individuals. Please do not distribute any images without the permission of the owner.
Web Development and IT Support
Tavy Hornbrook Trix Code (Web Design and Development),
Roy Pfitzner (Head of MPI IT team)