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Pliant Pleats Folded 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.

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.

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