Un/Folding Form: A Unified Strategy for Making and Visualising in 3D
This thesis project “Un/Folding Form” is a design investigation that explores the transition between the virtual representation and physical fabrication of folded forms. Un/Folding Form refers to a unified strategy for making and visualising in 3D. Un/folding was a method used to explore the notions of form, space and structure and to develop an adaptable approach to mediate between the virtual and physical world. Designers who make and visualise in 3D need methods that allow for the prototyping of virtual designs in order to experience them physically. The development of a unified strategy that assists in closing the gaps between virtual representation and digital fabrication improves the designer’s understanding of the process of making, leading to more creative and resolved outcomes. This research suggests that there are methods that can transition seamlessly between the virtual representation and physical reality of folded forms. The final composition presented in this thesis is a demonstration of this notion of working towards a seamless digital process of making. The 3D Portal can be used to assess the ‘seams’ between the virtual and the physical and validate a methodology for making and visualising in 3D. In order to arrive at a unified strategy, the folding and unfolding of surface geometries was first explored through a series of physical experiments. These geometries were then 3D modelled and the surfaces manipulated digitally in order to create patterns for digital fabrication and physical reconstruction. The virtual representation of these folded designs was then investigated within a 3D stereoscopic projected environment. This involved the use of software to explore design interfaces to create immersive visual representations of physical forms. These series of experiments involved a process of moving back and forth between the virtual environment and physical form with the aim of moving closer towards a seamless transition between the two. This methodology was tested with the making of a final composition 3D Portal: a gateway to the virtual world and a play on the inter-relationship of 3D visualisation and its corresponding physical form. Thus, the focus of this thesis is twofold: to create an understanding of the process and evolution of design using folding as a technique; and to develop a methodology for designing a work using the folding technique.