Zushiki light art: form finding and making through paper folding


Wu, J. 2016. Zushiki light art: form finding and making through paper folding. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2016 Emerging Technologies (SIGGRAPH ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA

Paper folding allows for complex and innovative structures formed with simple and low cost tools at the point of assembly. From simple pieces of paper, folded designs can be easily deployed into a three-dimensional volume and can be flattened to a two-dimensional shape for ease of shipping and storage. The goal of this workshop is to demonstrate practical means of using paper folding, the art of origami, in product design in order to seek innovative ways of form finding and making.

Zushiki, or図式, is a Japanese word for plan, scheme, pattern and design. Zushiki Light Art is inspired by modular origami in which multiple sheets of paper are used to create a larger and more complex design.  These designs are not possible using single-piece origami techniques. Historically, modular origami first appeared in a Japanese book published in 1743 called Ranma Zushiki. The book shows a modular origami cube called tamatebako, or玉手箱, translated as “magic treasure chest.”

Three unique light art design, Gokakukei, Sakuru, and Sankakei, will be available for participant to make at Studio in SIGGRAPH. Predesign crease patterns will be sent to a laser cutter to be perforated and cut.  These laser-cut pieces will be then hand folded connected by small plastic snap buttons and small metal rings. The number of pieces required for each light will be varied from four pieces to twelve pieces. A small battery-powered LED will be used to illuminate each folded design.

Zushiki Light Art is designed using super light-weight, natural material coupled with low impact digital fabrication and making techniques. Each of the Zushiki Light Art presents a minimal carbon footprint and ecological impact. It invites the ephemeral interplay between the light and shadow throughout the night, providing a soft ambience that highlights the intricacy and the mathematical complexity of each piece.