Origami Sightings - Architecture and Design

Compiled by Janet Hamilton

The April 1999 issue of House Beautiful had a one page article titled "Origami Textiles" featuring Parisian designer Pietro Seminelli. The article mentions several types of fabric, including a blend of silk and paper, which are made into curtains, shades, tablecloths, napkins, runners, placemats, cushions, screens, room dividers, bed covers, etc.  He folds single sheets of fabric into what looks like mainly box pleated designs. The creases are either stitched or ironed into place. Because of the folded design, more light filters through the textiles in some places than in others. "'Our homes reflect the intimate folds of our inner selves', says the 30-year-old Seminelli, whose elegant, razor sharp profile recalls that of young Jean Cocteau. 'The motifs are geometric because geometry is for me a conduit to well being. Folding isn't a mode; it's a mode of thinking. I see my designs not merely as textiles, but as sculptures that filter light."

Time Magazine, Sept. 6, 1999, in "The Art of Autumn" has a caption on a photo of a new building: “Tricky thing, a high-rise. The wall between efficient elegance and monolithic monster is easy to traverse. Even more hairy is designing a high-rise--in the heart of  Manhattan, no less--that is to be the U.S. headquarters for LVMH, the fashion, champagne and other image-heavy-goods conglomerate. Ugly just won't do. But Christian de Portzamparc, the Pritzker-prizewinning French architect, has created a tower with elan. His 23-story building has a kinky, faceted, overlapping-glass facade, like a whimsical piece of origami, which nevertheless abides by all the city's fiddly zoning laws.”

One of the Japanese Quilt Magazines had a pattern for a couple of pillows quilted with a crane on them.

INC., June 15, 1999, carried an article called "Packing It In" about designing boxes. “To communicate design ideas to customers more quickly and provide a better medium for discussing changes, Dempsay traded in his notebook PC for a Clio, the Windows CE device from Vadem. The size of an inch-thick stack of typing paper, the Clio is slightly smaller than most laptops, but its 9.4-inch-diagonal stylus-sensitive display is big enough to be viewed by all participants in a small meeting. With the Clio, Dempsay can skip the origami lesson: he simply draws his customers a quick sketch of a new box on the screen and makes changes based on their feedback.”

The Toronto Globe and Mail ran an article by Adele Weder of Vancouver in their Fashion and Design section in the August 13, 1998 edition (pages C8,C7) entitled, "Chairs from Beyond the Fold". It's a brief report on the "Re Pose" competition which challenged designers to come up with new versions of folding chairs. Part way through the article (which has pictures of three of the entries) we find: "For instance, the chair designed by architect Scott Kemp and Clint Cuddington folds flat into a scored rectangle of door proportions, but unfolds into an object as complex and graceful as a musical instrument. Kemp found inspiration in origami, the Japanese art of folding paper into three-dimensional marvels."

The 1996 Britannica Book of the Year singled out Dakota Jackson's origami chair, the Coda, to exemplify the 1995 furniture industry, noting that it "demonstrated innovative technology and styling that looked forward to the 21st century."

In the book Spirits of the Cloth-Contemporary African American Quilts, by Carolyn Mazloomi, was this note beside an exquisite quilt created by Virginia Harris (pages 166-167): "A Japanese American friend invited me to fold origami with her. Folding the papers into various objects was intriguing. What shape would result, when the papers were unfolded? I cut sixteen-inch squares of freezer paper--folded, unfolded--and a fascinating new source for quilt blocks evolved. The distinct blocks disappeared as the quilt formed, and an overall pattern evolved. In an adaptation of an unfolded origami candy box, the Japanese print fabrics are grouped like pieces of candy in a box..."

From National Geographic Traveler, September 1999, in the article “Glass by Design” the author describes the exhibits at the Corning Museum of Glass: “Compelling in another way is the floor in the Windows Gallery, which is folded like a giant piece of concrete origami.”

Wallpaper (a UK design/living magazine) announced "High Table: a new series which sets the standard of modern table manners and gourmet gear" illustrations and diagrams for five napkin folds by "Lap technician Kelly Russell" who is Wallpaper's interiors editor. The directions and diagrams were reasonably clear; the photos striking. The issue was March 2000, pages 333-334.  The folds were Swirl, French Lily, Candlestick, Palm Leaf, and The Boat.

A Japan Times article on 12/19/2001, “Views on a cityscape in continuous flux” by Linda Inoki, states, “But the best Japanese architects -- such as Shigeo Kanbara, who designed a white prison unfolding like the wings of an origami dove -- were not simply raiding the past, but opening up a modern fusion of East and West.” http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?fa20011219a2.htm

Shigeru Ban is an architect who has used paper in the construction of large permanent and temporary structures. There was a brief piece on television  for a paper church he built after an earthquake in Kobe, Japan. The Paper Church was named Takatori Kyokai Church, after the original Takatori Church destroyed and brought down by the killer quake. The driving force was for materials that volunteers could handle and build with, without extensive training and tools, was actually constructed in 5 weeks, and remained up for 10 years. The floor plan (10 x 15 m) is enclosed within a skin of corrugated, polycarbonate sheeting. Within the area, 58 paper tubes (325 mm in diameter, 14.8 mm thick, and 5 m high), were placed in an elliptical pattern. The pictures below are of the Issei Miyake Gallery, the Paper Church, a Paper house, and a Paper Log house temporary shelter. http://park.org/Japan/DNP/MTN/SB/church_e.html http://globalnation.inquirer.net:80/propertyfocus/propertyfocus/view/20080326-126489/A-church-made-of-paper 

The Japan Pavillon at World Expo 2000 in Germany was a huge hall and entirely made out of recycled paper. After the exhibition the paper was to be recycled again.

Seen in Architectural Digest, December 2003, page 189: "The cantilevered steps seem almost weightless, and the windows are scrimmed in parachute fabric intricately hand-folded by an origami artist." The photo shows white translucent fabric in an enlarged square and rectangular grid pattern.

An after-school club in Westcliff on Sea, England, is made of cardboard. “The shape of the building reflects some of the properties of cardboard, particularly ‘corrugugated’ cardboard and origami. These properties can be seen in the ‘zig-zag’ shape of the South wall, and in the roof. The shapes are not simply in keeping with the cardboard theme of the structure, but also help to make the building stronger.” There are even diagrams for an origami crane on an outside wall. http://www.cardboardschool.co.uk/ and  http://www.cardboardschool.co.uk/content/siteim/week9_03.htm  

Origami Dome™ Tent: An Amazing Folding Tensegrity dome shelter of rigid panels dome shelter that folds flat when not needed! See http://www.shelter-systems.com/patent.html and also this link for drawings to make one out of cardboard: http://www.shelter-systems.com/modle.html 

Retur Design http://www.returdesign.se/english/home.htm makes cardboard furniture.  Frank Gehry became famous as a designer of cardboard furniture beginning in 1972.  Peter Raake and Peter Murdoch have also designed cardboard furniture.

Origami Chair designed by Ming Lo from 5 sheets of aluminum steel http://www.designboom.com/cardboard2.html

Origami Chair by James Dieter from a single sheet of polycarbonate and polyester mesh http://www.designboom.com/cardboard2.html

Zumi Stool by Shuichiro Koizumi, 2002 Designed in Japan, engineered in the U.S., and made in Europe, the Zumi stool is truly a global product. As much origami as furniture, the stool is formed by three identical pieces that cleverly interlock to create a graceful occasional seat. Crafted from molded plywood with a birch veneer, simple assembly is required.  http://momastore.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StoreCatalogDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1 and search for “origami”
Zumi Stool

In addition there are many other chairs (though not called origami chairs) of folded cardboard and plastic on the following sites:

Although the title of this flyer is Urban Origami, origami seems to be a metaphor for the architect's Gary Shoemaker's ability to fold up design and structural elements to the client's pleasing. Different pages have an imitation colored paper-look with a dashed-line fold-line on it, but there's not really anything to fold.

9/2004 - The new Kaiser Permanente facility in Otay Mesa, California has murals with origami along the walls behind the reception area. The origami is simple and is superimposed over a paper representation of an ocean seascape. Origami turtles and fishes appear, including the classic shrimp with the cut antenna.

Issue 3 2004 of the Building Control News (the newsletter of the District Surveyors of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, UK), advertised on the front page "Free - materials to make your own house - See page 7". On page 7 was a printed square to be cut out, and diagrams for an origami house. 

The National Building Museum in Washington DC hosted an exhibition called "Origami as Architecture", from November 6, 2004 to March 27, 2005. Technically, the exhibition was on cut and folded 3D models of building usually known as "Origamic Architecture". The works displayed were created by Takaaki Kihara and Kazukiyo Kurosu. http://www.nbm.org/Exhibits/current/origami.html 

The slimmy chair, designed by Frederic Debackere, weighs only 20 pounds and arrives folded flat. The chair is made of a composite material of PVC and aluminum, which has an outdoor durability of 25 years. The chair unfolds manually and requires only 4 screws to assemble, two on the lower back panel and two on the seat panel. http://www.borndesign.net/product2.html 

The PocketMod is Flash application that let's you make a organizer booklet from a single sheet of paper using templates chosen from a  menu. As the main page states, "Nothing beats a folded up piece of paper." The site also has a Flash video on how to fold it. http://www.pocketmod.com/  

There is a street called Origami Lane in Sarasota, Florida. I believe the housing development it is in is called something like "Whispering Crane."

An article in the magazine Wallpaper, October 2005 describes a building in the Harajuku area of Tokyo designed by Tadao Ando. "Ando found an unlikely solution to such demands in the Japanese art of paperfolding. He devised the origami-style structure using black steel plates that fold neatly around the awkwardly shaped space." http://www.hhstyle.com/cgi-bin/omc?port=33311&req=IDIR&code=shop_casa

Sept, 17, 2006 "Reaching for the stars" by Andres Viglucci "Celebrity architects -- 'starchitects' -- are increasingly interested in working in Miami, knowing their buildings will likely be noticed by the world ... Cutting-edge darlings Jacques Herzog and Pierre De Meuron of Switzerland, whose radically reconceived South Beach parking garage resembles nothing so much as origami on steroids." http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/15529486.htm 


2/4/2007 - A troublewit type folded paper chair - http://www.glumbert.com:80/media/foldingchair 

A description of the new Miami Courthouse from PRNewswire - "Inside, Arquitectonica has redefined courthouse function: Natural daylighting illuminates interior spaces, much more so than in typical facilities. Courtrooms are grouped in pairs, with direct access through foyers in between. Each courtroom features wenge-paneled walls, cherry and walnut furnishings and judges' benches of imported limestone -- all below sculpted "origami" ceilings. ... Finished in wood veneer paneling, acoustical fabric-wrapped panels and custom-designed glass wall panels, they are marked by animated "origami" ceiling planes." http://sev.prnewswire.com:80/art/20070223/NYF00223022007-1.html 

A stool, chair, and rocker designed by Swiss architect known as Nicola Enrico Stäubli from cardboard. You can download the full PDF (free) which you’ll need to print out and then follow the instructions. http://www.foldschool.com/_about/about_start/about_start.html 

Nora Rubber Flooring recently announced the winners of the 2006-2007 Wrap Competition in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, a collaboration with the University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture. The contest was for inventive use of Nora Rubber Flooring. One of the entries winning honors was Origami Chair by Candice Wong: An origami chair that allows children to fold and form the chair in various shapes.

Michael Jantzen has designed a modular, adaptable and ‘relocatable’ M-House, built from his M-vironment system. It is made up of rectangular panels attached to a framework of interlocking cubes. The panels fold in or out of the cubes in either a horizontal or a vertical orientation. One of Jantzen’s influences is origami. http://www.humanshelter.org/  http://www.newconsumer.com/interviews/with/2315/ 

Folding Australia 2005 Convention featured a life-sized house made of origami bricks and containing origami furniture and decorations. http://www.papercrane.org:80/index/Projects/78 

June 11, 2007 "Akira Celebrates the Art of Origami and the Simple Fold" in PRNewswire. "Vecta, the leader in developing conferencing and training spaces, today introduced a new flip-top table Akira(TM) at NeoCon 2007, the World's Trade Fair for Interior Design and Facilities Management. Akira aims to be the easiest table to fold, move and reconfigure on the market today." http://www.vecta.com/ 

Shelter Origami, designed by Akemi Tahara of Brazil, was nominated in the Home category of the 2007 INDEX: Design to Improve Life competition. The entry page has a video of the folding of the model and setup of the shelter. http://www.indexaward.dk/2007/default.asp?id=706&show=nomination&nominationid=160 

April 16, 2007 "Iowa State artist: When it comes to inventing furniture, I fold" by Dan Kuester, Iowa State University News Service. Fumi Ikeshima folded a full size, usable chair using "Golden Venture" type units. "Now, after more than 450 hours of folding more than 35,000 individual pieces of paper by more than 90 people in two countries, Ikeshima can rest. The chair is done." http://www.iastate.edu/~nscentral/news/2007/apr/origami.shtml 

Factum chairs and tables from http://www.artmeetsmatter.com/ are a "foldable, postable, recyclable range of furniture launched at 100% Design05. Produced using recycled paper board and printed with a variety of designs. The Factum concept is designed for anyone with a flexible need for furniture. Each Factum design comes packaged in its own suitcase-shaped box and unfolds into Cube or Chair in seconds. Short of space? Fold Factum away or hang it on the wall using the optional polyprop display case – the ultimate functional design statement."

Anthony Dickens and Tony Wilson created a line they call origami range. The tables are made of 3 identical steel legs that connect together to make the table base. http://www.anthonydickens.com/root.aspx?pointerID=a7cad1f76d1c48f79e50d796a66665a2 and http://www.dickensandwilson.com/ 

Anne Kyyro Quinn designs lamps, pillows, bags, blinds, wall panels, and more with pleats, tucks, and folds similar to origami tesselations. http://www.annekyyroquinn.com/ 

The Papton Chair from Fuchs+Funke Industrial Design stores as flat pack cardboard and folds in minutes to a strong, lightweight chair. The chair was displayed at the MKG Hamburg "Masterpieces in Origami" exhibit summer 2007. http://www.fuchs-funke.de/products/papton/pa01.htm http://www.mkg-hamburg.de/mkg.php/en/sonderausstellungen/aktuell/detail/~S000323/~P1/ 

"Bridge of paper can carry 20 people" on http://www.tiscali.nl/content/article/nbuit/brug_van_papier_kan_2_mensen_dragen/519324.htm (click on Breedband for a video). A paper bridge built in the south of France by Japanese architect Shigeru can hold 20 people at a time. The bridge has not ornamentation, instead letting the beauty of the structure show. In the background in an ancient stone bridge echoing the arcs of the paper bridge. 

Seoul’s Papertainer Museum, an environmentally friendly structure constructed from 166 recycled shipping containers and 353 large tubes from paper rolls, has been constructed inside Olympic Park. It was designed by renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. Papertainer Museum has adopted its motif from Shigeru Ban’s Nomadic Museum. Paper, signifying communications and preservation of culture, and containers signifying trade, together symbolize the world’s culture and art. http://papertainer.design.co.kr/ 

A collection of photos and information on paper tube structures from 1989 to the present including Paper Arbor - Nagoya, Japan, 1989; Paper Emergency Shelters For UNHCR - Byumba Refugee Camp, Rwanda, 1999; Paper Arch - Museum of Modern Art, New York City; and Papillon Pavilion, Exposition Icon, 2006; and more. http://www.shigerubanarchitects.com/SBA_WORKS/SBA_PAPER/SBA_Paper_index.htm 

Paper Arbor, 1989

Odawara Hall and East Gate,1990

Library of a Poet, 1991

Miyake Design Studio Gallery, 1994

Paper House, 1995

Paper Log Houses, 1995-2001

Paper Church, 1995-2005

Paper Dome, 1998

Paper Emergency Shelters for UNHCR, 1999

Japan Pavillion, Expo 2000, Hannover, 2000

Paper Arch, MOMA, 2000

Paper Studio, 2003

Paper Theater, 2003

Paper Dome, 2003

Paris Temporary Structure, 2004

Paper House, 2005

Centre d'interpretation du Canal de Bourgogne, 2005

Vasarely Pavillion, 2006

Singapore Bienale Pavilion, 2006

Papillon Pavilion,
Exposition Icon, 2006

Paper Bridge, 2007


Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West houses the famous architect’s “origami chairs,” each made from a perfect rectangle of wood. The origami chairs alone cost $4,000 each. Wright stated, "I have done the best I could with this living room chair.[34] He felt that he overcome the dilemma of the awkwardness of sitting .I've tried to design a chair so that when one was seated, one looks like something. And that's the chair in the living room there. You know, with the sloping slides, and really when you're reclining, seated in that chair, you are graceful -- in spite of yourself."

Moroso has a line of tables and chairs called "Bent" made from laser cut and folded aluminum that is very origami-like. http://www.moroso.it/home_moroso.php?n=products&model=161&l=en 

Blu Dot is known for making furniture from perforated, powder-coated steel sheets that consumers can bend into shape themselves, a process that the designers describe as “a bit like metal origami.” The "Real Good Chair" and "Barbarella" tables were the most origami-like of the current products http://www.bludot.com/ 

From the SAFE: Design Takes on Risk exhibit at MoMA in 2005 featured several interesting structures. The “Ha-Ori Shelter”. Made by Joerg Student from IDEO, is a folded polypropylene onion shaped tent. The Global Village Shelter by Daniel Ferrara and Mia Ferrara is a corrugated paper-board house, complete with locking door. The Paper Log House by Shigeru Ban Architects has walls made of paper tube "logs".. http://www.moma.org/exhibitions/2005/safe/safe.html 

Vaughan Designs "...created a unique ceiling mount $1,710, in an artichoke shape. The intricate light patterns give the illusion that the fixture is made of origami paper, when, in fact, it is crafted of metal." Architectural Digest, February 2008, page 84. www.vaughandesigns.com http://www.vaughandesigns.com/site/item.cfm?item=3313&category=31&parent=7 

January 2008 - Stefano Bettio has designed an "Origami Chair" made from polycarbonate. http://www.stefanobettio.com/prodotti_origami.html 

January 2008 - Florian Kräutli developed a Magnetic Curtain that can be shaped to any form using magnets embedded in the curtain fabric and a diamond shaped grid similar to the crease pattern in a tessellation. http://www.kraeutli.com/index.php/2008/01/31/magnetic-curtain 

March 9, 2008 in the BBC News, "Artist unveils newspaper house". Summer Erek created a 12 foot high house from in Gillet Square (Dalston, Hackney, UK) with donated newespapers to highlight the need for recycling. http://news.bbc.co.uk:80/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/7285373.stm 

March 10, 2008 - BLOXES! Modular Cardboard Building System "One part origami, one part architecture, pure genius." Bloxes are cardboard forms that fold into interlocking structures strong enough to stand on. Bloxes can be assembled in different ways to build a bench, a table, a wall, or even a full room. http://www.bloxes.com/ http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/03/10/bloxes-modular-cardboard-building-system/ 

The Isamu Noguchi Prismatic Table was designed in 1957. This was Noguchi's last design, inspired by origami and produced initially to promote new uses for aluminium. http://www.vitra.com/ http://www.vitra.com/products/home/living_room_low_side_tables/prismatic_table/default.asp?lang=us_us 

The Origami Side Table is a sheet metal table by Philadelphia designers Jaime Salm and Young Jin Chung. Composed of two laser-cut and slotted sheets of steel, Origami ships flat and requires no tools or hardware to assemble. One sheet is the negative of the other, eliminating waste during production and giving the table its dynamic form. Once bent, the tables folds lock the parts into place. http://www.mioculture.com/store/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=6&idproduct=25 

A ceiling fan from the Emerson company called "Origami" due to the fold in the blades. The fan was designed by Bethany Klausing. http://www.emersonfans.com/catalog_detail.jsp?id=70&item=1 http://www.prweb.com/releases/2008/05/prweb910614.htm 

The "Fold Your Lamp" design concept by Thomas Hick consists of a 0.8mm thick sheet of stainless steel with scored segments. You fold the segments as you see fit to create a one-of-a kind lamp. Light shines through the scoring and through the openings you choose to leave.

January 2008 - Ninna Helena Olsen's "Powernap Furniture" is fabricated from 8 steel plates laser cut and folded. http://www.ninnahelena.dk/ninnahelena-eng.html 

Daniel Schipper has designed items using folded material, including a folding greenhouse of recyclable plastic, a textile and foam chair, lamp shades, and a shelter made from misprinted milk packaging. http://www.danielschipper.nl/ 

Hazlemere Commercial built a "Decagon House" that was featured the September 2008 edition of Grand Designs Magazine an in the Channel 4 (UK) Grand Designs TV series. In the Grand Designs magazine article, author Fiona McAuslan observes: “Standing on the raised lawn overlooking the peaked undulations of the copper roof and the fan-like angles of the French windows, you can’t help but be impressed by a building that unfolds over its site with the delicacy of an origami paper sculpture.” See photos and video of the house at http://www.channel4.com/4homes/on-tv/grand-designs/episode-guides/oxford-the-decagon-house-08-06-05_p_1.html 

The reCover Shelter is  folded polypropylene structure which can house a family of four following a disaster for up to a month. It can be collapsed into for transport. No harmful gases go into the production of the shelter and it is 100% recyclable after use. Set-up takes minutes and requires just one person. The ridges can be used to collect drinking water, and local materials or even ground cover can be used to insulate the structure.

The Global Village Shelter is made with large sheets of fold-up corrugated laminated cardboard, flat-packed in three easily shippable parts. The prejointed walls simply have to be unfolded, and two roof pieces connected and placed on top. It’s light and simple enough to be constructed by two people in less than an hour. http://www.gvshelters.com/ 

London based Formtank markets a group of tables designed by George Rice in 2007. The 2d3d group consists of tables called 2fold, 3fold, and 2foldlow. The tables make use of CAD/CAM to cut an industry standard steel sheet that is then folded into a structure for a strong table that is topped by glass to show off the elaborate structure. The company claims waste is less than 4% per meter. http://www.formtank.com/index.php 

October 17, 2008 - "An oasis of public space between Michigan Avenue and Navy Pier; origami-inspired park is deftly integrated with tower" by Blair Kamin on chicagotribune.com. "But the real star of the show is the park, which forms a green roof atop the tower’s underground parking garage and consists of sloping, mostly triangle-shaped sections that resemble folded paper in the Japanese art of origami." Mary Margaret Jones states:  “That's how we came up with the idea of the folded surface, taking the planes and folding them like origami so you have different vantage points,” Jones said. “So you have prospect and refuge, some places up and others down, where you are more contained.” http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com:80/theskyline/2008/10/parkview-condom.html 

Ming Tang came up with the idea for his Folding Houses after a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck central China last May 2008. The concept utilizes a system of bamboo poles that are pre-assembled into rigid geometric shapes. The geometry of these forms provides each structure’s integrity, allowing a range of lightweight modular structures to be quickly assembled in factories and transported to their destination. http://www.inhabitat.com:80/2008/10/22/origami-inspired-folding-bamboo-house-by-ming-trang/ 

Andrew Ooi created hanging and freestanding lamps called The Sonobe Lights. They are made with Fabriano Tiziano Paper and compact fluorescent bulbs. http://www.canadianarchitect.com/issues/ISArticle.asp?story_id=190130123003&issue=09012008&PC= 

The Metro newspaper (New York City) and Parsons The New School for Design had students interpret how we "metro". Roxanna Vizcarra's illustration states, "to metro (v): to deserve a little free time every morning" and includes origami cranes made out of newspaper pages.

Leavitt - Weaver (1994 Rockefeller Drive, Ceres, CA 95307, Tel 209.521.5125) has two small tables in their "Origami Collection", a Four-Square table and a Three-Fold table. http://www.leavitt-weaver.com/ 

This origami inspired house in Tokyo was designed by architect Yasuhiro Yamashita. http://www.designboom.com/eng/interview/tekuto.html http://www.origamiblog.com:80/yasuhiro-yamashitas-origami-house/2008/08/13 

A quilt pattern called "Origami Star" is similar to the traditional throwing star. http://www.touchwoodquilts.com/pages/patterns2.html http://www.garnethill.com/jump.jsp?iProductID=15881&itemID=15881&itemType=PRODUCT&path=1,2,4611,9996,9996 

January 2009 - "That’s not origami, that’s a Tribeca penthouse" by Julie Shapiro. A penthouse addition to 78-80 Leonard St. in New York City, designed by architect Henry Smith-Miller, "looks like a piece of paper that was folded into an origami pattern and then unfolded again, with creases remaining. The 9,530-square-foot addition has no windows but is made of tin, wire glass and corrugated metal. It looks solid from the outside but allows people on the inside to look out, as through a screen. Smith-Miller calls it a “stone cloud.” " http://www.downtownexpress.com:80/de_296/thatsnotorigami.html 

January 2009 - Swiss company The Wall AG has developed a $5000, 390-square-foot modular home called the Universal World House, It comes with plumbing and boarding facilities to support up to eight residents. The house is built from recycled, resin-soaked paper shaped into honeycomb walls, which provide structural integrity and insulation to the house. Gerd Niemoeller, its inventor, says that the 36sq m paper house weighs barely 800kg (1,763lb), and half of that is the foundation block. The house has eight built-in single and double beds and a veranda with a sealed-off area housing a shower and a lavatory. 

April 2009 - An Origami Squares pillow and an Origami Pigeons Pillow on Urban Outfitters that have incorporated origami designs. http://search.urbanoutfitters.com/?q=origami 

An Infosys Technologies building in Mysore, Karnataka, India is called "Origami". It was designed by Architect Hafeez Contractor.

June 2009 - The Polo lounger is designed by Paul Wilding, who calls the piece “industrial origami.” The lounger is made entirely of steel and is available in silver, white, bronze or black.

June 2009 - The "Bless You Chair" designed by Louise Campbell of Denmark appears as if it was formed from a sheet of felt formed into a preliminary base. The chair was part of a display called "Fashioning Felt" at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City. http://exhibitions.cooperhewitt.org/Fashioning-Felt/objects/bless-you-chair 

The redevelopment of Paternoster Square included a set of cooling vents for  London Electricity substation. The stainless steel vents were designed by Thomas Heatherwick by experimental folding of an A4 sheet of paper.

"Clouds" are fabric tiles from Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec that fold along pre-creased lines and are held together with rubber bands. They come in two fabrics and 7 colors, can be arranged in various abstract shapes, and may be used in various ways for interior design . "Clouds" are made by Danish manufacturer Kvadrat http://www.kvadratclouds.com/ 

August 2009 - Architect Altaf Master was toying with some sticky notes on his desk while trying to find a "futuristic and dynamic" entrance for BAE Systems' aerospace business park in Samlesbury (UK). The paper took on a stealth bomber-looking shape, which fit the theme and look he was shooting for. http://www.lep.co.uk:80/news/BAE-base-designed-via-origami.5527021.jp 

September 2009 - Architecture firm BIG was selected by a jury of experts from Shenzhen Municipal Planning Bureau to build the new international headquarters of Shenzhen Energy Company in the center of tropical Shenzhen. The south facing surfaces of the pleated exterior walls are covered with solar panels that receive direct sunlight, which powers the air conditioning and provides dehumidification for the working spaces. The northern faces receive indirect light, which bounces into the interior as natural daylight. When the sun is in the east or west, the sun’s rays will reflect off the solar walls into the interior. http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/09/08/origami-folded-skyscraper-shenzhen-big/ 

Le Klint, a Danish company, produces lamps hand folded from plastic rectangles and formed with mountain and valley folds. http://www.leklint.dk/default.asp?id=30&prevref=2&cid=3&page=6

Francesco Gatti of 3Gatti designed the Automobile Museum in Nanjing  to allow visitors to view some exhibits as they drive their cars to the top of the building around external ramps, then walk back down through the floors to see the other displays. The car park's sharply angled planes are based on styles borrowed from origami.

H2O Architects is planning a building for a long narrow site in Melbourne’s Bourke Street on behalf of client The Law Institute of Victoria. The five-story design uses an origami-like folded external wall to maximize the light and shade in the difficult site.

November 2009 - A Australian beach house, shaped like an origami Klein Bottle, won the World’s Best Home award at the prestigious World Architecture Festival Awards (WAF Awards) 2009. The firm of McBride Charles Ryan designed the house by visualizing an origami version of the Klein bottle in order to make the architecture achievable and able to function as a home. http://www.archdaily.com/7952/klein-bottle-house-mcbride-charles-ryan/ http://www.worldarchitecturefestival.com/ 

Design student Alice Gruhle created the Polymorph concept lamp, which is formed from diamond-shaped modules that link together and allow “folds” at the joints. The concept, inspired by a combination of origami and Legos, won a competition at Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach. http://www.prw.com/subscriber/newscat2.html?cat=1&channel=340&id=1258460272 

December 2009 - The Elton John Aids Foundation by creating a Grey Goose Character & Cocktail Bar for its Winter Ball. Roland Mouret has created an origami-themed setup, which will be auctioned after the ball.

Blu Homes, the eco-housing firm that acquired mkDesigns, designs prefab houses that fold up for more efficient transportation, then unfold on-site. Check out the video of the unfolding process - http://www.mnn.com/the-home/building-renovating/blogs/rhode-island-fold-em 

Copyright © Janet Hamilton 2009

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