Author Archives: maria.vergop

Imagine the solar system as our universe’s gigantic candyfloss maker. Candyfloss from Venus is recreating a mystic phenomenon of the solar system in a human scale and in the most fun approach.


1:5 scale model of part of the timber structure (made by 3mm laser cut mdf)

The sacred geometry that exists between the cycles of the planets has been a source of fascination for humans for centuries. The Candyfloss from Venus is an art installation designed for the Burning Man Festival, inspired by the fivefold rosette pattern formed by the orbit of Venus around the Earth, when viewed from the geocentric position, also known as ‘the rose of Venus’. The translation of the dance of Venus around the Earth in more than one geometric plane creates a grid-shell rose pattern.


The fivefold rosette and the grid-shell rose pattern are informing the geometry of the Candyfloss from Venus. This pavilion is created as a result of digital and physical testings of the orbits of circles or spheres around a fixed centre, reminiscent of the function of a spirograph toy, which creates hypotrochoid and epitrochoid curves and by expanding the possibilities of the spirograph in three-dimentional space.






The main supporting structure of this pavilion is created by a wooden structure, of three concentric rose like, grid-shell frames. The laser cut plywood pieces of the frames are connected, interlocked and bolted together with metal brackets, forming a secure and climbable construction. The beautiful ‘rose of Venus’ is recreated within the grid-shell structure, by the weaving of white EL wire inside translucent, coloured and flexible PVC tubes, supported by the wooden skeleton. In the centre of this light hurricane, a candyfloss maker is continuing the orbital loops of matter, gifting to burners a galaxy to taste.


This art installation carefully considers the principles of Burning Man, by providing an interactive, playful, climbable pavilion that reveals the beauty of Venus’ orbit spiralling around the Earth, directed by the divine proportion of the golden ratio. The internal spaces created by the wooden framework and the loops of the ‘rose of Venus’ can be explored and utilised. The dense spiralling geometry of the coloured weaved PVC tubes generate beautiful shadows during the day. At night-time, the EL wires light up the rosettes, producing a visually mesmerizing effect, creating an illusion of depth and density. The whole structure is tactically tilted in order to permit burners to explore every dimension of these orbital flowers of light. Candyfloss from Venus is providing an interactive space for cherishing the beauty of the Playa’s starry night sky, while enjoying the colourful sweetness of some candy floss. The geometric secrets of the sky become a playground for every burner to discover. It is an art piece designed to reminisce everyone’s childhood and aspires to leave a sweet memory of the night sky to every burner.


the Spirograph is a geometric drawing toy that produces a variety of mathematical roulette curves.

spirograph kit (1967)

it was invented and developed by the English engineer Denys Fisher. in 1960, Fisher set up his own company, Denys Fisher Engineering, in Leeds. the company won a contract with NATO to supply springs and precision component for its 20 mm cannon. between 1962 and 1964 he developed various drawing machines, eventually producing a prototype Spirograph.

Spirograph was patented in 16 countries and was first sold in the UK in 1965. a year later, Fisher licensed Spirograph to Kenner Products in the United States. in 1967 Spirograph was chosen as the UK Toy of the Year.


it consisted of different-sized plastic rings, with gear teeth on both the inside and outside of their circumferences. they were pinned to a cardboard backing with pins and any of several provided gearwheels, which had holes provided for a ballpoint pen, could be spun around to make geometric shapes on paper. later, the Super-Spirograph consisted of a set of plastic gears and other interlocking shape-segments such as rings, triangles, or straight bars.



the curves produced by the Spirograph toy are technically known as hypotrochoids and epitrochoids.

a hypotrochoid curve is traced by a point attached to a circle of radius r rolling around the inside of a fixed circle of radius R, where the point is a distance d from the centre of the interior circle.

The parametric equations for a hypotrochoid are:

x (\theta) = (R - r)\cos\theta + d\cos\left({R - r \over r}\theta\right)
y (\theta) = (R - r)\sin\theta - d\sin\left({R - r \over r}\theta\right).

where θ is the angle formed by the horizontal and the centre of the rotating circle.



a epitrochoid curve is traced by a point attached to a circle of radius r rolling around the outside of a fixed circle of radius R, where the point is a distance d from the center of the exterior circle.

The parametric equations for a epitrochoid are:

x (\theta) = (R + r)\cos\theta - d\cos\left({R + r \over r}\theta\right),\,
y (\theta) = (R + r)\sin\theta - d\sin\left({R + r \over r}\theta\right).\,

where θ is the angle formed by the horizontal and the centre of the rotating circle.



Crystal Kaleidoscope 1

Mirrors, crystals, and the spectacular illusion of reflection. the crystal kaleidoscope is an illusion in the desert, a scaled up crystal formation that  deconstructs the image of its surrounding environment, embodying this year’s Burning Man theme of Carnival of Mirrors.

This piece follows the crystal growth of copper sulphate crystals in its entirety; from the geometry to the materiality. The shape of this structure is a human sized copper sulphate crystal, depicting all natural elements around it. In addition, the crystal kaleidoscope uses actual copper sulphate crystals in its fabrication, in order to complete the experience of being inside a crystal kaleidoscope.  

Visitors can enter the interior of the crystal structure from a small opening, reminiscent of Alice’s in Wonderland rabbit hole, and be part of a real kaleidoscope created by blue copper sulphate crystals and their reflected patterns.

Wouldn’t you like to enter a life-sized kaleidoscope?


A number of panels used to form the installation are made by sheets of 3D spacer fabric, first treated in a super saturated solution of copper sulphate. This technique used allows crystals to develop attached on the material, making it stiff and able to be used as a construction material. The panels of crystals, in addition to the mirror surfaces, create a kaleidoscopic spectacle of reflection.

Crystal Kaleidoscope 2

The panels of the crystal kaleidoscope are connected with lasercut custom made brackets, designed to adjust in each corner.  As a visual outcome, the exterior of the structure create an illusion in the desert of Black Rock City and the interior is a kaleidoscopic cave made by actual crystals.

Crystal Kaleidoscope 3

The investigation started by the examination of stalagmites and stalactites as a naturally growing system. Water carrying dissolved calcite is deposed gradually, creating layers of crystalissed mineral formations. This research resulted to the study of the geometry of crystal growth and the testing of mineral deposition in general.



Experimenting with mineral deposition under different principles and mapping the results of each imprint was followed by the creation of a manually controlled 3D printer of minerals.

6 7 8

Testing with different saturated solutions, crystal growth techniques and observing changes based on drop point and drop techniques of minerals, light, temperature and consistency of solutions led to the idea of creating a clever glass panel that follows the rules of crystallisation and can transform based on environmental changes.


These panels can be used for the creation of a structure that is adaptable in extreme environmental changes of warm and cold temperature, such as those experienced in the Black Rock Dessert of Nevada where the Burning Man Festival is located.