Jan 15, 2017 | By Julia

California-based designer and Stanford University Lecturer John Edmark has been mesmerizing crowds around the globe with his 3D printed sculptures known as “Blooms.”

The swirling sculptures, which mimic blooming flowers yet resemble something considerably more extra-terrestrial, use precise mathematics in their design. By drawing on numerical properties organically found in nature, “Blooms” call to mind spiral patterns typically found in organisms such as pinecones and sunflowers. The kinetic artworks are animated by rapid spinning motions and strobe lights, resulting in a mesmerizing sensation of real blooming.

“Much of my work celebrates the patterns underlying space and growth,” Edmark explains. “Through kinetic sculptures and transformable objects, I strive to give viewers access to the surprising structures hidden within apparently amorphous space.”

The Stanford University Design Lecturer continues, “while art is often a vehicle for fantasy, my work is an invitation to plunge deeper into our own world and discover just how astonishing it can be. In experiencing a surprising behavior, one’s sense of wonder and delight is increased by the recognition that it is occurring within the context of actual physical constraints.

“The works can be thought of as instruments that amplify our awareness of the sometimes tenuous relationship between facts and perception.”

Although “Blooms” may seem reminiscent of a zoetrope, which functions essentially as a flipbook of multiple objects, Edmark’s works are animated as single self-contained sculptures. The animation materializes through the use of a strobe light, but Edmark asserts that the sculptures’ ability to be animated are intrinsic to their geometry.

The sense of perfection and precision that emerges is due to the maker’s use of “the golden ratio,” phi (ϕ). Edmarks notes this is the same ratio that generates the natural spiral patterns we see plants like cacti.

“The rotational speed and strobe rate of the bloom are synchronized so that one flash occurs every time the bloom turns 137.5º (the angular version of phi),” Edmark says. “Each bloom’s particular form and behavior is determined by a unique parametric seed I call a phi-nome.”

Check out the video below for a glimpse at the spell-binding sculptures. Edmark notes that for the making of this clip, rather than using a strobe, the camera was set to a very short shutter speed in order to freeze individual frames.

The prices of “Blooms” range from about $40 USD to over $6,000 depending on complexity. Edmarks offers technical details on his 3D printed sculptures, as well as instructions for constructing your own turntable and strobe light here.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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