Art & Artists

The Victoria & Albert Museum commissioned me to create an interactive installation as part of their activities around the Cult Of Beauty Aestheticism exhibition. Keeping William Morris as a loose source of inspiration, as well as addressing the museum's upcoming Power Of Making collaboration with the Crafts Council, I proposed to create a modern, stripped down interpretation of his pattern work mixed with classic islamic/indian geometric influences and then realised this project using different digital fabrication techniques.

The result is a Victorian-esque, ornamental, laser-cut, 2-panel room divider, covered in 620 hand folded paper cones, mounted on the front surface as projection canvas. Visitors can create their own pattern using an iPad hidden in a small table (also laser-cut) standing nearby.

The generated tiling pattern is based on a central octagon surrounded by other polygons (4,5,6,7-gons). It forms the guiding topology for both the panels and the table. I developed a number of small software tools to create the tessellations by dissecting these polygons into symmetrical smaller shapes. Using several levels of symmetry, only 18 unique shapes are needed to create the full pattern. These are then arranged, unfolded and used to generate the cut paths for both the paper elements as well as the MDF frames. The paper cones were designed in such way that their elevation varies with their distance from the centre of each parent polygon, thus creating a secondary superimposed pattern in the relief of the tessellation. All of the paper shapes were fabricated by myself using a Craft Robo cutting plotter (and 200+ sheets of paper).

The room divider was manufactured by Metropolitan Works on their large-scale laser cutter. All color palettes which can be interactively applied to the polygons via the iPad UI are sampled from Morris' original wallpaper designs.

Also see the full 270+ images flickr set for this project:

The next installation period will be during London Design Festival (23-25 Sep). Also, if you'd like to commission me for similar work do get in touch!


Concept, Design, Code: Karsten Schmidt[1]
Commissioned by: Victoria & Albert Museum[2]
Laser cutting by: Metropolitan Works[3], Cut-Laser-Cut[4]
Photography: Giedre Kaubryte-Schmidt[5]

Music: Vessel by (the venerable) Jon Hopkins[6] - do buy his album!!!

[6] |


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