© 2019 by Jiangmei Wu. All rights reserved

Pliant Pleats Light Art

Pliant Pleats are inspired by the organic and curvilinear pleats found in nature and fashion. Folded from a single large sheet of Hi-tec Kozo, each of the Pliant Pleats is stretched into either an undulating or even surface with a gentle curving silhouette. When illuminated, the minimalistic quality of material and craft is aglow in the dramatic gradations of light and shadows.

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The origami behind Pliant Pleats is based on flat-foldable Miura-ori tessellation. Miura-ori, credited to Japanese astrophysicist Koryo Miura, has become well-known for its application in deployable structures, such as the solar array deployed in a 1995 mission for JAXA, the Japanese space agency. However, to fold Miura-ori into smooth curvature is materially impossible – the width of paper corrugation will be too small to fold physically. So, in order to generate folded surfaces with smooth and gentle curves, Miura-ori is altered by adding divots. Using linear algebra and algorithm-based design tools such as Grasshopper and Rhino, parametric changes of the folding angles and their relationships to the target smooth curved profiles were studied. To produce Punica, a member of the Pliant Pleats collection, an approximation of the target profile of a sine curve is first generated. This profile curve is then arrayed and stretched into a rotational double-curved surface. Since the pleating width is independent of folding angles, it can then be varied to create expressive designs.