Bryant Yee

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Paper Explorations

Things that fold can be found all around us, from our clothing and airbags, to packaging and proteins. Today, designers of all disciplines use folding techniques to create a wide variety objects that are both decorative and functional. Despite being ubiquitous, folding as a design topic is rarely studied.

This body of work is a documentation of curiosity—an exploration of the practical applications of paper folding. Each piece of this collection was prompted by a question and through the iterative design process, a tangible answer manifested.

Curved Folding

In the 1920s and 1930s, Josef Albers, the Bauhaus artist, taught a series of design workshops where students were given the exercise of forming 3D objects entirely by paper folding. When I was researching the topic for my thesis, I came across an image that showed an uncut disk of paper with concentric mountain-valley folds. The folded shape didn’t lay flat, but rather had undergone an extreme contortion and had formed into a saddle shape much like the one I recreated below. The other images follow the same concentric-circle concept, however, the middle has been punched out allowing the form to flow freely through the center and twist naturally. Many of these concentric-circle sculptures are visually clean and mysterious, simultaneously geometric and unexpected.

Repeating Waterbomb Bases

This design is composed of a series of waterbomb bases, one of the most widely recognizable folds in origami. The canvas, however, does not begin with a square, but a piece of paper with a 2:1 ratio. As far as the material and weight of the paper go, it all depends on the folder’s preference. A lighter paper won’t retain memory as well and a heavier paper might offer too much rigidity, making the paper very difficult to fold. These repeating waterbomb bases allows the overall form of the structure to curl around in to a sphere shape and also morph in to a cylindrical shape when equal pressure is applied to the sides. When equal pressure is applied to the top and bottom, the structure begins to collapse on itself, creating a donut shape.

Hyperbolic Paraboloid

Paper sculpture constructed from a single 20-inch square sheet of paper. The design consists of concentric squares with alternating mountain-valley folds.

Bird's Nest

The idea of this study spawned from my curiosity in bird's nests and how they're created from nothing. My peice is created from 160 eighth-inch strips of interwoven paper. I restricted myself to a 20 by 20 inch sheet of paper.