3D origami

The base of this table lamp was made using the 3d origami technique descibed on this page.

When I first found Boutique-Sha's book, 3D Origami (ISBN 4889960570), in a bookstore in Dallas sometime in the year 2000, I was very excited about the possibility it offered for direct recycling of waste paper. The book presents a technique for folding basically any piece of paper into a single type of triangular unit, which unit can then be nested with dozens or hundreds or however many other similar units to create forms. While the forms presented in the book were mostly cutesy animals and other shmaltzy kitsch, I was sure that with a bit of meditation I could use the trick to design and build a meaningful object. Five years and several hundred waste sheets of copy paper later, all I have to show are a lamp base, pictured above, and a C3-symmetrical table sculpture, pictured at the bottom of the page. The technique was also used in the Temari ball presented on my sandpaper origami page.

The lamp base consists of nothing but the folded origami units and an empty spice bottle to provide a hard point for mounting lamp hardware.  The bottle cap is removable to allow interior service.

Many "sequels" have been published to Sha's original book (cf. ISBNs 4889961275 and 4889961917, e.c.), and although the forms they present are increasingly impressive in terms of the dedication and sheer number of units involved (in the same way that a purse made by a prisoner from 1000 empty cigarette-packets is impressive), none of them, to my knowledge, contains a single useful object created using the technique. My lamp base is the only practical example I know of, and, it should be admitted, is not a very interesting one. After all, just about any hollow object of sufficient mass can be used as a lamp base.

A hollow sculptural form, about 40cm high and having 3-fold radial symmetry, made using the 3D origami technique.

For those who are interested, folding instructions for the basic unit are presented in .PDF format.