Ruga Ribbons is a 14 feet tall permanent sculpture commissioned by Rowland Design for Liberty Fund library that is located in Indianapolis. “Ruga” is the Latin word for making winkles, creases, pleats, and folds. Inspired by the use of winkling and folding in the material as a primary genesis of artistic forms, Ruga Ribbons is a digitally-precise form created from flat sheets of corrugated plastic material that mimics fabric-like ribbons. Suspended in the void of the main stairwell, Ruga Ribbons creates an ever-changing visual experience for people who come to interact with it as they move up and down the staircase.
The building architecture and art displayed in the building, which was designed by Rowland Design, provided the initial inspiration for Folded Light Art’s use of abstract geometry. Folded Light Art then worked with Ignition Art, a fabricator and installer, on solving issues associated with unrolling a couple of hundred unique panels for digital cutting and assembly. These unique panels were then connected in order to create the two ribbons that are intertwined with one another.
See the above for a stop-motion movie, showing the installation-in-progress a wonderful crew from Ignition Arts, a designer/fabricator based in Indianapolis.
I’m finally offering an elective class that I have been wanting to teaching in Spring 2020: Advance Architecture Drawing! I will be introducing parametric design to the students in Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture, and Design. I’m hoping this class will also attract students from the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. The projects will be ranging from designing small scale objects to large scale installations.
In the recent years, the culture of digital fabrication has heavily influenced the practice of architecture and interior design, as well as design pedagogy. This course aims to further develop students’ advanced digital design and modeling skills by considering the digital-physical workfl ow in the context of contemporary interior design. The main software will be Rhino and Grasshopper. Rhino is an 3D CAD program that uses NURBS mathematical model to represent curves and free-form surfaces in digital environment. Grasshopper is a visual programming language and environment that works with Rhino, Grasshopper allows you to quickly change fundamental attributes of a complicated model, to make complex formations through repetitions of simple forms, and to use mathematical functions to control or generate shapes. In addition to designing in Rhino and Grasshopper, students will have hands-on experiences with a range of digital fabrication tools such as 3D printer, laser cutter, and digital cutter. Through a combination of exercises and projects, the students will design a set of interior objects, from small-scale lighting and furniture to large-scale interior partitions and surfaces.
• To be familiar with the culture of digital fabrication in the context of contemporary interior design practice • To understand how algorithm and data can be incorporated into the development of fundamental design method and digital-physical work fl ow • To be competent in the development of the fundamental design method including research, critical thinking, reiterative design process, design criticism, design communication • To learn to incorporate the concept of digital-physical workflow into the development of the fundamental design method • To learn to integrate algorithm and digital-physical workflow with the development of the fundamental design method • To be familiar with the digital fabrication tools such as 3D printer, laser cutter and digital cutter.
Check this new video about Ruga Swan by Fox 13 in Tempa, Florida. Ruga Swan has been touring in the United States and Canada in the past five years. It has been to 13 museums so far. Many thanks to the Museum of Fine Art in St. Petersburg, Florida and International Art and Artists staff who did a great installation for this!
Recently I had an opportunity working with two great local artists who have a lot of experiences in public art: Lucas Brown and Brian McCutcheon. As a team, we proposed a public art, entitled Orix, for the Bloomington Trades District. Orix is inspired by naturally occurring origami folds. ‘Ori’ means fold in Japanese and ‘X’ refers to both the seed of the origami folds and the ambiguous, futuristic, and bionic form that results from the folding and distorting process. In nature, folding can be seen everywhere, and for some scientists, nature, at both the macroscopic and microscopic level, ‘folds’ rather than ‘builds.’ Through the manipulation of folds, colors, light, and its conversation with the people who come to experience it, Orix, as a mystical being, actively engages, encloses, protects, and connects the Trades District site and the community.
Light, if rendered into art, must be transmitted and transformed through multiple materials. Non-material light, either emitted or reflected, interplays with a material surface that is folded from thin aluminum sheets and perforated with generative patterns inspired by Indiana limestone fossils. When light interacts with the mountains and valleys of the perforated surface, it is transmitted and reflected through the porosity of the colored aluminum. The folded form anchors to the ground plane through a series of similarly faceted limestone benches.
The design draws from local inspiration at multiple scales. The color palette pulls from the interplay between autumn foliage, sky, and water. The folded form references the order and chaos found in piles of discarded limestone in area quarries, while the porosity is inspired by overlapping crinoid patterns.
The generative seed of Orix is a triply periodic bi-foldable mathematical surface that is the result of a collaboration between IUB mathematician Matthias Weber and artist/designer Jiangmei Wu. The DNA of the surface is an ‘X’ shaped vertex that can be aggregated in three-dimensional space. Through a process of adding, subtracting, folding, and distorting, Orix can be generated and optimized into various potential solutions based on artistic compositions, engineering analyses, and community engagement.
A folding workshop and collaborative ideation session will be used to familiarize community members with the form-making process and to allow participants to provide design input. The artist team will use feedback from the session to help define the final location, form, pattern, and colors.
Our proposal is one of the five finalists selected to present proposals to the city of Bloomington. We are seeking public comments. Feel free to leave us feedback here:
Citation: Wu, J. (2108). From Paper Folding to Digital Modeling in Beginning Interior Architecture Studio, IDEC Exchange: A Forum for Interior Design Education, Winter 2018.
Paper folding is easy to do by hand and does not require sophisticated tools. The form generation in paper folding is a direct result of material manipulation through a series of actions by hand. While paper folding can be easily done by hand, describing paper folding scientifically and representing the morphology that happens when a flat sheet of paper is folded, however, requires complex mathematical and computational modeling. Current CAD technologies, such as 3D modeling tools such as Rhino and Revit, are inadequate for such a tactile design process. In courses such as Beginning Interior Architecture studios, it is extremely difficult for the beginning design students to generate innovative forms directly using 3D modeling tools, which they are just beginning to learn. However, when they are asked to work with pieces of paper using their hands in free experiments, they learn to discover new ideas and find new forms, which then inspire them to generate digital alternatives that can be used in various scales in their interior design activities.
In an introductory
interior design and architecture studio, paper folding was introduced to the
first year students to help them understand basic design principles such as
symmetry, repetition, and modality. The goal was to produce a small-scale paper
folded light sculpture that is volumetric and that can enclose a light source. The
project was divided into three small parts that serve as learning scaffolds.
In the first part, the students were asked to create small units of paper
folds from pieces of small square paper. Students were asked to draw simple
line drawings based on two-dimensional compositions they made in a previous
project using straight edges and compasses. They then were asked to give
mountain and valleys assignments to the line drawings and they started folding.
The students quickly found out that preconceived mountain and valley
assignments often didn’t give rise to successful volumetric paper folds.
Instead, they learned that folding paper was a very tactile experience and that
each paper fold works like a small mechanism. To manipulate these small paper
mechanics, one needed to cut, fold, pinch, pull, roll, tuck, and pop through a
series of freehand experiments, similarly in ways to how a sculptor works with
lumps of clay. While they started with some predesigned line drawings, they had
to add new crease lines and ignore some original lines in their new paper
folds. In the second part, the students were asked to connect four to eight units
of their paper folds together. Students were taught to connect the units by
using ways to make symmetries, such as translation, rotation, reflection,
glide-reflection. They learned that to connect units together, they must pay
attention to the boundary conditions of their paper folds. Complicate
boundaries of a paper fold might be difficult to connect in modular form. In
the third part, they were asked to use as many units as they needed to create
their final design. They learned that by connecting these small paper mechanisms,
they would end up with larger pieces of mechanisms which they need to
manipulate again by hand to create the final stable volumetric forms. In
addition, they were also taught to use polyhedral geometries, including
icosahedron, dodecahedron, rhombic dodecahedron, etc., to connect the units
into fixed three-dimensional volumes.
The beginning students
often achieved great results in making a paper light and they were very proud
of their work, which motivated them with later designs using digital tools. They
were sometimes asked to produce digital alternatives of their paper structures.
These digital alternatives were merely approximations of the paper fold
structures. The digital models can then be used later in their other interior
design projects either as small-scale light shades or as large-scale interior
In March 2018, I worked with two contractors and a group of volunteers to move the Synergia installation from the North Christian Church in Columbus, Indiana to the Indiana University Bloomington campus. The volunteers included my former students Tristin Moore and Siqiao Gao, and Bloomington High School South students Dexter Wu-corts and Levy Burdine. The site was the nice and quiet green space between the Simon Hall, Chemistry building, the Lindley Hall, and the Kirkwood Hall. It took us about four days to complete the job. While Synergia was originally designed for the site at the North Christian Church designed by Eero Saarinen, it also fitted well on IUB campus. The white pristine geometry worked in contrast with the Collegiate Gothic style structures in the background. The installation definitely had caught the eyes and curiosities of students and faculty who happened to walk by the area. For one instance, Molecular and Celluar Biochemistry professor Adam Zlotnick took his entire class to see the pavilion as Synergia’s cellular structure resembled the viruses they had been study. For anther instance, biology student Ari Williams, found peace and serenity in the pavilion while playing some guitar. He was amazed at how the cellular structure enhanced the acoustic experience in the outdoor on windy spring days (video above, shot with a iphone).
The doubly periodic Miura pattern was named after Japanese astrophysicist Koryo Miura, and is a well-known origami pattern for its rigid and flat foldabilities and its ability to deploy and retract in a restrictive way. Miura pattern is also known as rigid origami, which is concerned with folding structures using flat rigid sheet material with certain thicknesses, such as metal, wood, plastic, etc, that are joined by hinges. Rigid origami has also studied as Thick origami by Tomohiro Tachi. In this article, he proposed using a new method called Tapered Panels in addition to Hoberman’s symmetric Miura-ori vertex method and Trautz and Kunstler’s Slidable Hinges method. Recently, Tomohiro Tachi and Tom Hull presented Double-line rigid origami as an extension of the crease offset method of thick rigid origami.
Interestingly, Miura surface can also be understood as a generalized example of bi-foldable infinite polyhedral complexes, or zonohedra, that are bounded by parallelograms. Similar to the weaving of a cube or other zonohera that has been studied by artist Rinus Roelofs, a polyhedron weaving technique can be used to construct these polyhedral complexes. A Miura surface can therefore be woven by strips of paper (see a diagram below), or thick materials such as corrugated cardboard. More images below show the added thickness and the stylization to the woven Miura surface in 4 mm thick corrugated cardboard. It was interesting to learn that weaving Miura surface with thick and rigid panels is a lot easier than adding thickness to the Miura origami panels.
I have been collaborating with mathematician Matthias Weber on a new class of infinite bi-foldable polyhedral complexes. Currently, our initial result has been published at:https://arxiv.org/abs/1809.01698. I would like to showcase two examples of triply infinite bi-foldable polyhedral complexes: Butterfly and Dos Equis. I made Butterfly and Dos Equis using a polyhedral weaving technique. The material is Mi Teintes paper. I’m also including two nice rendered videos made by Weber.
To learn more about the mathematics (explained in layman’s terms by Weber) behind these fun infinite bi-foldable polyhedral complexes, or the process of how we found them, I encourage you to visit Weber’s blogs here:
Butterfly has three vertex types: valency 4, 6, and 8. Butterfly is named after the vertex of valency 8 as it resembles a symmetrically balanced butterfly. This vertex is translated to create the triply periodic construction. Butterfly is made using a polyhedral weaving technique that employs a four-color complementary scheme. Each color represents a distinctive zone using the concept of zonohedron proposed by H.S.M. Coxeter. Each face is alternated and interwoven by two zones of two colors. A few deviations from the regularity are inserted to create the rhythmic changes.
There are three vertex types in Dos Equis: two of valency 4 and one of valency 8. Dos Equis is named after the vertex of valency 8 as it resembles the image of an X. Using a four-color complementary scheme, each color represents a distinctive zone using the concept of zonohedron proposed by H.S.M. Coxeter. Each zone, using two unique unit patterns, is then folded and interwoven with other zones. Notice that the four colored zones, with its two unit patterns, and its under or over weaving alternations, create a total of sixteen design variations for the quadrilateral faces.
Light Harvest is an interactive sculptural installation that explores a protein called Light-Harvesting Complex II (LHCII) in the realm of materials, digital fabrication, projection mapping and interaction design. This article gives an account of the making of Light Harvest, a collaboration between an artist/designer, a structural biologist, and an interaction design technologist. The artistic concepts in material construction and digital techniques are drawn from protein folding, sophisticated mapping processes in protein X-ray crystallography, and the remarkable abilities of LHCI proteins to convert full-spectrum visible sunlight to useful energy for life. Through its interactive installation, Light Harvest engages us in an appreciation and understanding of the biological processes studied and the scientific techniques used to study them.