Surface into Form exhibit @PLACE, Portland, Oregon. photos by Monica K Lau.

How can simple folding transform a 2D sheet into a compelling 3D light modulator? Dynamically adjusting the structure can shield or bounce light. The purpose is to explore how kinetically adjustable surface structures could create useful and beautiful sunshading screens.  This work is a vehicle to understand how digital modeling, material manipulation and performance analysis can be combined to spur the creative process.  The work shown on this site was designed over the course of the last two years by professor Nancy Yen-wen Cheng and student research assistants at the University of Oregon in Portland.  It has been presented in China, Australia, Germany and India. National Conference on the Beginning Design Student 2011 at Univ. of Nevada-Lincoln, the ACSA National Meeting 2012 at MIT, and Shape Modeling International 2012 (SMI12) at Texas A&M.


The following was developed with the help of Abraham Rodriguez, Ashley Koger and Jerome Alemeyehu:  ACSA 2012-presentation slides , SMI12 paper: Petal Variations and

SMI12 video (20 min + Q&A))

2 Responses to Summary

  1. Nancy and your students-

    Great work and beautiful light modulators.

    These would also be great as screens for skylights as well, especially in the spring/summer/fall times.

    Keep up the great research.


  2. Dorothy Yuki says:

    I really appreciated your presentation today at Maker’s Faire and this video. Coincidentally I am working on two copper sheets to make lamps for table centerpieces for a Ruth’s Table fund raiser.
    (named after Ruth Asawa for a table given to a non profit group to advance art and community) I had cut out and was trying to figure out how to slit the copper sheets to allow light to come through them with a candle in the center. Asawa’s origami stainless steel sculpture on the Embarcadero in San Francisco is an Aurora fold.
    Therefore I wanted to do something of the same idea but with slits to allow light.

Leave a Reply