Membrane curvature is no longer seen as a passive consequence of cellular activity but an active means to create membrane domains and to organize centres for membrane trafficking. Curvature can be dynamically modulated by changes in lipid composition, the oligomerization of curvature scaffolding proteins and the reversible insertion of protein regions that act like wedges in membranes. There is an interplay between curvature-generating and curvature-sensing proteins during vesicle budding. This is seen during vesicle budding and in the formation of microenvironments. On a larger scale, membrane curvature is a prime player in growth, division and movement.