Talking about mutations, genetic mutations are not the only ones that happen in the world allowing evolution dynamics. Behavioural metamorphosis has to be considered as well, meaning the ability of a living organism to change its appereance (form, colour, movement patterns) adapting to environmental pressures and stimuli, in order to achieve a wider range of performances than the ones allowed by a fixed guise.
Great demos of metamorphosis behaviour are offered by the Octopoda order.
The Thaumoctopus Mimicus changes movement behaviour and form to simulate the appareance of a number of different species, in order to react specifically to a number of situations and risks.
Check the amazing video below, if you find it interesting you can get more information here.
Other species instead show spectacular camouflage skills, with their skin acting as a RGB screen, combining pixel-like pigments to match a variety of subaqueous environmental patterns.
If you like to check the great David Gallo TED talk below take care not to miss the last two minutes.
Translating these natural processes to design ones, how would it be an object that mutates appereance according to external conditions? Consider a fruit bowl that adapts its form to the quantity of fruit in it, reducing or increasing size; that changes colour adapting to the colour of the table that supports it, or the mood of its user. An object defined as a space of configurations instead of a fixed form.
Interactive design, real time visual installations using sensors and processing information software already implemented this sensibility, letting us imagine and live responsive architectural environments and devices. How would it be with matter? Maybe still long way to get it, but definitely an attempt worth to try.