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.
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.
Each structure is capable of expanding and contracting as well as folding flat in the horizontal direction. In contrast to its horizontal flexibility, the structures have a rigid support vertically.
This study explores how a pleating system can be controlled to form a semicircle. Using basic trigonometry, it’s possible to calculate the correct angles so it can be mapped and plotted for folding.
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.
Paper sculpture constructed from a single 20-inch square sheet of paper. The design consists of concentric squares with alternating mountain-valley folds.
This is a rapidly-deployable structure formed from a single sheet of paper by using a series of trigonometric mountain-valley folds. Collapsible forms similar to this can be produced without the use of any glue with a fastening technique called riveting.
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.