Computational Origami (2008)

by Erik Demaine and Martin Demaine

This series of three pieces, titled “Computational Origami”, is part of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) permanent collection. It was originally part of the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibit from February 24 to May 12, 2008. Then it was on display in The Philip Johnson Architecture and Design Galleries (third floor) as part of the Rough Cut: Design Takes a Sharp Edge exhibit, November 26, 2008 to October 12, 2009; and as part of the Applied Design exhibit, March 2, 2013 to January 20, 2014.


About the Pieces

Each piece in this series connects together multiple circular pieces of paper (between two and three full circles) to make a large circular ramp of total turning angle much larger than 360° (between 720° and 1080°). Each sculpture is also turned a different amount before joining the sliced circles into one big (topological) circle.

The title “Computational Origami” refers to our underlying algorithmic goal of determining the mathematical curved surface that results from different kinds of pleated folding. This kind of “self-folding origami” may have applications to deployable structures that can compress very small by folding tightly and later relax into its natural curved form. To control this process, we must understand what forms result from different pleatings, and how to design pleatings that make desired forms.

Material: Elephant hide paper.
Dimensions: 9" × 13" × 7" tall • 8.5" × 13" × 7" tall • 8" × 7" × 8.5" tall.

For More Information

Check out our other curved-crease sculpture, as well as our history of curved-crease sculpture.

Last updated December 7, 2013 by Erik Demaine.