Friday, January 26, 2007

Designer Thinks outside the square

Designer thinks outside the square using origami
Sunday January 28, 2007
Rachel Young loves creating objects out of pieces of paper. Photo / Babiche Martens
She started folding paper for fun when she was still very young. Now she spends hours folding it into interesting and intricate shapes. And she doesn't get too many paper cuts while doing so, either. But Rachel Young won't admit to being a black belt in origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper folding.
Because although Young runs Fold, her own company specialising in homewares based on origami, she's never really been all that into traditional origami shapes. "I haven't folded many things from books because I don't really like following instructions," she explains. "Usually it's more that they give me points to start with, that I then change into something else."
Like a lampshade. It took Young around a year to complete this, her first design; she's currently working on several other novel products, which will eventually be patented.
"I don't really draw anything anymore when I'm designing. I just fold. For ages and ages. And I love that - the idea of starting with a piece of paper and developing it into something three-dimensional."

1. Fold Lampshade. The Fold Lampshade is the first of my designs available. I began with folded paper and spent about year developing it through to its present form. I wanted to show that origami could be more than just a pastime for children. I also proved to myself that techniques from origami can be applied to functional objects.
2. Enlai Hooi paper experiments. A friend had shown me a picture of his work in the final year of my design course. It was great to see somebody else who uses origami as their inspiration. There is an amazing amount of variety, not only in the form but in function and material, and his paper experiments are worth a look.
3. Bloom card By Artecnica. Bloom cards are pop-up flower shaped cards which reveal a message in the centre. I am also interested in paper engineering and these cards are a great example. Plus they are available in a range of different styles and colours, which makes it more difficult to decide which one to buy.
4. New Design Technology. To realise my designs and make life easier I use computer-controlled machines. My favourites are the digital die cutter and the laser cutter. These cut amazingly intricate designs and are cost-effective. For instance, with a client, my dad and I had a tree gate laser-cut from steel. The detail of the leaves was impressive. And handcutting is definitely not an option these days.
5. Shanghai Tang umbrella. This umbrella was given to me as a present. Umbrellas tend to be pretty plain but what I love about this one is the unexpected black and white bamboo pattern on the inside. It's almost too nice and I still haven't had the guts to use it.
6. The Panton chair by Vernon Panton. Originally made in 1967 it was the first cantilevered chair made from one piece of plastic. The clean design mixed with experimental manufacturing makes it one of my favourites.
7. London. This would have to be my favourite city for design I have visited. I've recently been on a couple of overseas trips - to Los Angeles, London, Paris, Singapore, China, Hong Kong and Macau. Seeing the different architecture, perspectives and people was a real eye-opener. But in London I particularly liked the mix of historic and modern. My favourite examples are the geometric patterns of the Gherkin and the self-contained city in the Tower of London.
8. Luminarium Levity 2 by Architects Of Air. An inflatable sculpture that came to Auckland and was installed in Aotea Square a few years ago. From the outside it looked like a mass of coloured blobs but inside it was amazing. I was surprised by it and it was definitely worth the long wait in the line.
9. Paper Cranes. The paper crane has to be my favourite origami design. This is the first fold I can remember learning. The version I like the most is the flapping crane - when you hold the front part and pull the tail gently, the wings flap.
10. My sister's pencil drawings. In this age of computers, drawings done by hand are not common which is a shame, because the skill and eye for detail that goes into them is phenomenal. Pencil drawings by my sister Ashley are some of my favourites, they look just like a photograph.

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