Origami is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, which throughout its history has produced beautifully crafted objects and inventions. There is something particularly attractive about elements of the natural world recreated in delicately folded paper forms, and animals and plants have been a favourite subject for origami artists. The evolution of mathematics has been reflected in ever more complex geometric paper creations, while digital technology has enabled intricately mapped patterns. This post brings together twenty examples of ingenious origami and folded paper art and design.
1. Five Spine Concertina Fold (Elodole)
Elodole’s five-spine concertina paper-fold creates a powerful sense of depth and architectural structure.
2. Speed of Light (Jen Stark)
American artist Jen Stark specialises in cut and folded paper sculptures, often formed from layer-upon-layer of dazzlingly coloured card. Her most successful pieces display a suggestion of dynamic movement, such as this work entitled Speed of Light.
3. Grulla (Designed by Roman Diaz and Daniel Naranjo, folded by Emre Ayaroglu)
Bird forms have always been a favourite subject matter for origami artists; with this paper creation, designers Roman Diaz and Daniel Naranjo have rendered the animal’s anatomy and movement in an extremely realistic manner.
4. Icosahedron (Richard Sweeney)
Sculptor Richard Sweeney experiments in folded-paper are an integral part of his creative process, sometimes leading to larger sculptures, or resulting in art works in their own right.
5. Origami Gecko (Kallu)
This origami gecko and fly are created from a single sheet of paper, with the folded pleats allowing the animals’ bodies to rise from the flat surface.
6. Toilet Paper Roll Masks (Junior Fritz Jacquet)
Junior Fritz Jacquet is an artist who experiments with a range of paper-based techniques. These expressive portrait ‘masks’ are one of his trademark creations, characterful faces made from the cardboard centres of toilet rolls.
7. Twenty Open Frame Rhombicuboctahedra (Ardonik)
Ardonik’s experiment in tetrahedral symmetry took months to create, an exploration of geometric symmetry. The design uses the different colours of the rainbow in each of the ‘atoms’ that form the ‘molecule’.
8. Lord of the Rings Origami (Eric Joisel)
Gimli the Dwarf, Legolas the Elf and Aragon from Lord of the Rings are here each created from single sheets of paper, expertly folded by origami artist Eric Joisel.
9. Paper Dress (Jolis Paons)
Designer Jolis Paons created this elegant dress from the pages of a telephone directory, a stunningly inventive use of recycled material.
10. Cyclommatus Metalifer 2.0 (Satoshi Kamiya)
Satoshi Kamiya’s masterful fold of a stag beetle design has a very believable finish, with the choice of paper adding to the natural feel. Apparently the artist studied photographs of real specimens to ensure the leg positions are in a realistic walking posture.
11. Portrait of Rozemarijn Lucassen (Bert Simons)
Bert Simons makes super-realistic three-dimensional laser scan portraits, such as this example of Rozemarijn Lucassen The Rotterdam-based artist takes many photographs of his subject, and then digitally renders and maps the image in two-dimensions. Once the mapped design is printed it’s back to old-fashioned cutting and gluing to construct the strangely lifelike head.
12. Scrapbook Paper Great Rhombicosidodecahedron (Ardonik)
This open frame great rhombicosidodecahedron is constructed from 510 individual folded units, made from pages out of a scrapbook.
13. Reflection on Sagrada Familia (Ingrid Siliakus)
Amsterdam-based artist Ingrid Siliakus produces beautifully executed works of paper architecture. Real buildings often inspire her intricate constructions, in this case Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Família church in Barcelona. As with many of Siliakus’ pieces, this work involves complex architectural details and a vertical ‘reflection’ of the structure.
14. Icosahedron (Daniel Grein)
This image is a detail of an icosahedron form with a diameter of one metre. Designer Daniel Grein constructed the paper structure using twenty segments attached to a central skeleton.
15. Origami Object (José Marques)
José Marques’ intricate paper structure employs accurate geometric forms to create the interlocking structure.
16. Caress (Francine Levison)
Francine Levison is an American art teacher who learnt a specific form of origami from one of her students, who in turn had learnt the method from his grandmother. Levison now specialises in producing graceful paper constructions made from many smaller folded units, and often uses recycled materials such as glossy magazines.
17. Chatsworth, Derbyshire ‘A Guide to’ (Su Blackwell)
Artist Su Blackwell applies destructive methods to old books to produce her singular sculptures. The results have a surreal fairytale quality, even in those based in reality, such as this rearrangement of a Derbyshire guidebook.
18. Staircase Interior (Simon Schubert)
Simon Schubert is a German paper artist who uses precision creases in sheets of white paper. His designs feature subtle interior images with accurate perspective, mirrored hallways and convincing architectural details.
19. Periodic Paper Folding (Ron Resch)
The late Ron Resch was an American artist, designer and mathematician who experimented with the architectural potential of three-dimensional tessellated structures in the 1970s and 60s. This ‘periodic paper fold’ is an early example of his work, designed in 1963 and exhibited at Frankfurt Paper Lab exhibition in 2007.
20. The Fall (Peter Callesen)
Peter Callesen is a Danish artist who works almost exclusively in cut and folded white paper. His work explores the transformation of the flat sheet into a three-dimensional object, an object that retains the medium’s qualities. In this example, the silhouette of a tree has been cut from the sheet and folded into an anatomically detailed human skeleton.