Photo courtesy of Makezine.

Artist Michael Hansmeyer makes these incredible columns by stacking laser-cut slices of millimeter-thick cardboard to create intricate, smooth-looking solid forms.  The computer algorithim was developed by Edwin Catmull, who is now the president of Pixar, to render curved solids using polygons.  Maybe that’s why people easily mistake them for computing renderings.  The final product is something like Frank Gehry’s “Easy Edges” furniture on LSD.  Of course, Antonio Gaudí was doing this kind of thing 100 years ago, and without computers or laser printers:

La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Photo courtesy of Feltworks.
Park Güell in Barcelona. Photo courtest of xarj.

Gaudí actually drew inspiration from the natural world as well as mathematics–not that they’re mutually exclusive.  He used hyperboloids and paraboloids repeatedly in his designs, which explains the organic appearance of a lot of his work, which often appears to grow straight out of the ground.  To me, the exterior of Casa Batiló looks like someone took a hot glue gun to their curio cabinet:

Casa Batiló in Barcelona. Photo courtesy of Soothbrush.
Casa Batiló on Barcelona. Photo courtesy of Damn Cool Pics.

But naturalistic shapes weren’t the extent of his mathematical interest.  He also drew from numerology, which intersected with his own kind of mystical Catholicism.  He included a magic square on the facade of La Sagrada Familia, in which all the rows and columns add up to 33, the age of Jesus Christ when he died:

Photo courtesy of Rhetorical Device.

Magical, eh?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s