Partial to Paper

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In the Japanese paperfolding art of origami, cutting the paper is frowned upon. But in 1981, Masahiro Chatani, professor of Architecture at Tokyo Institute of Technology proved that papercutting could indeed produce stunning pieces of art. After falling in love with Chatani’s work, Dutch paper artist Ingrid Siliakus took the concept a step further with ‘paper architecture.’

Origamic Architecture sculptures range from (the relatively simple) geometric patterns to famous buildings’ facades. Siliakus receives regular commissions from architects and design firms to produce everything from detailed construction models to limited edition artbooks and even specialty invitation cards, most notably for MoMA which came complete with a 3-D replica of the museum’s building.

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“Depending on the size and intricacy of each piece, the design stage can take several weeks with testing of the laser cutter to determine the correct settings,” explains Siliakus. “Each cut, then, can take anywhere from ten minutes to an hour, and then there is the folding. This can take days, depending on how many parts need to be folded. Last but not least there is the assembly stage.”

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“You have to realize that cutting even a very small design can easily take an hour. Cutting by hand the large pieces with more sides would take weeks. So now I use a laser-cutting machine, which reads the designs directly from the computer.”

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“I still have to adjust the settings on each cut to get the correct depth depending on the paper brand and weight, which is not simple. I then do all the folding by hand, with the help of bamboo skewers, a folding bone, and a sharp stylus pen.”

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Siliakus calls this piece her favourite. It is inspired by Antoni Gaudi’ masterpiece the Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona, Spain. Her work and process will be featured in a book entitled ‘The Paper Architect’ out later this year.

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~ by eaesthete on 01/15/09.

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