Tag Archives: Fabrication

‘Da Vinci Codex’ is a latticed sculptural piece which creates unique poetics of morphology that merge structure and movement. It transgresses the artificial boundary between art, science and technology, casting seemingly established analogies in a new light while inviting visitors to rethink the relationship between form, geometry and construction. Linear and curved scissor elements form a series of recursive cubes which speak of infinity and the complexity of our world. It denotes a recognizable metaphor of ‘object-within-similar-object’ that appears in the design of many other natural and crafted objects. The precision of the cubic form reflects the organised chaos of our universe. Poignant patterns inspired by a study into the scissor movement of the cube elements are perforated into the triangulated parts of the Codex.

Da Vinci Codex 1

Da Vinci Codex 2

As they expand and collapse, the triangles form unique and intricate shadows which highlight the transitional quality of human life and emotions, changing from a state of happiness to sadness, from calm to anger, from life to death. The structure provides shelter from the heat of the sun while entertaining its guests with opportunities to engage with the structure. A deployment mechanism inspired by study into Leonardo da Vinci’s machinery sketches found in his Codex Atlanticus is actuated by a series of gears situated at the base of the structure, which are set into motion by a pedal system powered by visitors. As burners interact with the piece, they contemplate a fascinating and spectacular change of light and decor. ‘Da Vinci Codex’ stands as a piece of event architecture, a spatial construct where movement is a transformational creative force.

The visitors interact with the piece by powering one of the four pedal systems connected to the deploying mechanism. As they pedal, the burners witness a captivating movement: the synchronised expanding and collapsing of the three cubes which cast intricate shadows and stimulate a sense of play. The visitors can also step inside the cubes and experience a series of ‘in-between’ spaces before reaching the central volume and enjoying a level of protection from the wind and sun. The highly abstract aesthetic of the ‘da Vinci Codex’ is meant to affect the community with a spirit of experimentation and encourage each and every burner to question preconceived ideas, beliefs or desires.

Da Vinci Codex

Da Vinci Codex3Da Vinci Codex2

The size of each member has been carefully considered not only to allow structural integrity but also to respect the proportions of the human body. Each face of the cube moves in a synchronised manner. The relationship between the size of each face and proportions of the human body has been inspired by da Vinci’s Vitruvian man.

BM open cubeBM night render

Final Day Render


Entwine is a timber frame structure which has been developed through rigorous physical and digital testing to ensure a safe climbing frame for all to enjoy. When exploring Entwine, the vast expanse of the playa is framed through beautiful intertwining curved plywood beams. Burners can view the event from glorious vantage points nestled amidst multiple communal spaces that encourage interaction and play.

The structure predominantly consists of strips of curved plywood which have been connected together using pioneering construction techniques, specifically the utilisation of conflicting forces, similar to those apparent in ‘Tensegrital’ design. Drawing inspiration from Leonardo Da Vinci and his various experimentations with physical form, ‘Entwine’ is a marvel of geometry. The piece is formed from an arrangement of 19 octahedral components, each consisting of six beams, which are paired and positioned upon one of three axis. These three elements represent the unity of man, nature and the universe that surrounds us.

Close up Render.jpgFinal Close Up RenderFINAL Night Render

Each modular component is tessellated to form an octahedral space frame structure. The rigidity resulting from this tessellation is in direct contrast to the curving structural beams which exude an organic aesthetic. As Burners view Entwine from different aspects, a remarkable array of different patterns and forms are revealed, many bearing resemblance to sacred geometry, specifically the Flower of Life, which was a significant study within Leonardo Da Vinci’s work.


Entwine is unorthodox in its composition, and this is a contributing factor to what makes it so unique: Each module is constructed through tensioning layers of ¼ inch thick plywood, which are then mechanically fixed together when a desired radius has been reached. By laminating the plywood in this manner, each component retains its curvature but remains in compression. These conflicting forces are integral to the design of Entwine: Each octahedral module is constructed from these compressed plywood elements, and are held together with tensioning ropes creating a structure of isolated components in compression within a net of continuous tension.MODEL PHOTOGRAPHSMODEL PHOTOGRAPHS 2The form of the structure is based on the octahedron, which is a Platonic solid composed of eight equilateral triangles; four of which meet at each vertex. One of the eight triangles acts as a base for the structure. This results in one edge creating a small cantilever, whilst the counter edge can be anchored to the ground. As previously studied by Buckminster Fuller, the geometry of an octahedron is particularly good at forming space frames with a strong cantilevers.


Entwine Construction Proposal

The participatory aspect of the installation voids the role of the ‘spectator’ and creates more active engagement. In many of Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings, his subjects are framed by surreal, dreamlike landscapes. This is reflected within Entwine: As Burners become part of the installation, they are framed by the awe inspiring backdrop of Black Rock Desert: In many ways Entwine becomes the artist, the playa the canvas, and Burners the subjects.

“the artist is not a special sort of person, but every person is a special sort of artist.”

This is not only true in the sense of physical involvement but during the construction the ‘spectator’ becomes involved in making strategic decisions in the realisation of the work of art. The development, design and construction of the project embodies the principles of self-reliance and self-expression, whilst a proposal that is safe, interactive and beautiful will be gifted to the community at Burning Man.

Entwine’s curving form will be illuminated using LED spot lights to enhance the organic patterning existent within the structure. This allows the full form of the structure to be fully visible.

My initial studies stemmed from researching into Stellation. This, in simple terms, is the process of extending  polygon in two dimensions, polyhedron in three dimensions, or, in general, a polytope in n dimensions, to form a new figure. Through researching the application of this process, I came across the sculptures created by George Hart, as he has experimented with stellated geometries to which are subdivided to create mathematical interweaving structures.Stellation 1

My Research into the method and calculations of George Hart’s Mathematical Sculpture’s focused on the sculpture ‘Frabjous’. Through rigorous testing and model making I have understood the rules behind the complex form. This is based on the form of a stellated icosahedron, whose shape is contained within a dodecahedron.grey card model

Lines are drawn from one point, to a point mirrored at one edge of the face of the dodecahedron form – as shown in the diagram. This creates intersecting lines at each face as you can see from the diagrams below. Each dividing line has two intersection points, with symmetry at the center of the line. The sculpture aims to avoid the intersections of these lines by introducing a sine curve with the domain 0 to 2*pi. As you can see, each component is exactly the same – for this model, 30 components are used.

george hart diagram 1george hart diagram 2george hart diagram 3

`To simplify the construction of the sculpture, I extracted a build-able section which uses ten components in total. Two of these sections are then weaved together and joined up by a further ten single components to form the entire sculpture.Diagram Sequence of Researched SculptureOne Component ImageryGeometry 2

Following this research, I extracted the concept of avoiding the intersection and subdivided a cube with lines from each corner of the cube. These lines were then weaved around eachother using a sine curve with a domain of 0 to pi. I then mirrored the curves and rotated them to create an intertwining form.Avoiding Self Intersection 2

Another test was created with the same process, however subdividing a cube using the midpoint of each face. – This creates an octahedral geometry.Avoiding Self Intersection octahedron

Using this interweaving geometry, I have created different three dimensional arrays to create a spatial form. The concept of avoiding intersections naturally cause a structure to fail. To form a structurally efficient version of this geometry, I introduced the idea of a reciprocal structure, and allowed the beams to self support by resting on eachother. This did not create a structure strong enough to stand on, however through adding a cube whose dimensions are equal to the width of the beams, the structure became very strong.

Avoiding Self Intersection octahedron 3

Testing the component at a small scale required the design of a joint which allowed me to assemble these components together through interlocking elements. Each beam element slots into the joint; When two joints and two beams are connected together the curves naturally stay in place due to the angle cut into the joint. Three of these connected elements together form the component.

Diagraming the Joint

As mentioned previously, avoiding intersections create inefficient structures – For this small scale experimentation, the concept of Tensegrity was implemented. Tensegrity is a structural principle based on using isolated compression components within a net of continuous tension, allowing the compression members to not need to touch each other. This model was constructed using 1.5mm plywood which has been laser cut; the modularity of the system ensures minimal material wastage.

Construction Sequence of ModelModel Photographs

The three dimensional array of this geometry creates many interesting shapes and patterns when viewed from different angles – this is visible in the following video:





The inspiration for this research came from the Asian artist Ren Ri, who uses bees in order to generate his sculptural  work. He predefines the space for the bees to work with, and allows for a time period for the honeycombs to take shape.Portfolio__Page_06Portfolio__Page_07Portfolio__Page_08Portfolio__Page_09

There are three types of surface division that manage to fill up all the area with prime geometric space – triangular (S3), square (S4) and hexagonal (S6). Other types of surface division, either leave gaps between the prime elements, which need to be filled by secondary shapes, or are confined to irregular shapes.
Research shows that the most efficient way of dividing a surface is through a minimum number of achievable line intersections, or a maximum number of membranes. In either case, the hexagonal division fits the case. This type of organization is a second degree iteration from the triangular division. It is formed by identifying and connecting the triangular cell centroids.
Such as in the case of soap-bubble theory, these cells expand, tending to fill up all the surface area around them, and finally joining through communicating membranes.
From a structural point of view, the best integration is the triangular one, because of the way each element (beam) reacts to the variation of the adjacent elements.
By converting the elemental intersection in the hexagonal division from a single triple intersection to a triple double intersection, the structure would gain sufficient structural resistance. This can be done through two methods – translation or rotation. Translation implies moving the elements away from the initial state in order to open up a triangular gap at the existing intersection. This method results in uneven shapes. In the case of rotation, the elements are adjusted around each middle point until a sufficient structural component is created. It is through rotation that the shape is maintained to a relative hexagonal aspect, due to the unique transformation method.



Pursuing the opportunity to test the system through a 1:1 scale project, I was offered the chance to design a bar installation for a private event at the Saatchi Gallery. The project has been a success and represents a stage test for the system.Portfolio__Page_36Portfolio__Page_37Portfolio__Page_38Portfolio__Page_39Portfolio__Page_40Portfolio__Page_41Portfolio__Page_42Portfolio__Page_43Portfolio__Page_44Portfolio__Page_45Portfolio__Page_47Portfolio__Page_49Portfolio__Page_46Portfolio__Page_48Portfolio__Page_50Portfolio__Page_51

Moving further, the attempt was to implement dynamic force analysis to the design, through variation of the elemental thickness. The first test was a bridge design. The structure was anchored on 2 sides, and had a span of 5m.  Portfolio__Page_54Portfolio__Page_55

The next testing phase includes domed structures, replicating modular structures and double curved instances.

Lorna Jackson_Reflection_Interior Visual

Reflection presents this years burners with an intimate setting in which to share their inner most confessions, secrets and tales – With the option to do so both openly with other burners face to face, or retain the mystery of their identity by sharing with a complete stranger through the pavilions semi private screen. Reflection embodies the theme ‘Carnival of Mirrors’ in a variety of manners:- the geometry of the pavilion not only mirrors itself in its own form, but also incorporates a reflective surface within its interior spaces. The reflective physicality of the pavilion beautifully juxtaposes its function, by giving its burners a physical platform with which to cogitate their innermost thoughts and feelings, and share these with others. The pavilion is created as a result of rigorous testing of origami in order to create a single Spiralhedron which is then mirrored through along all axis.
Lorna Jackson_Reflection_Plan ElevLorna Jackson_Reflection_sections

Based upon a geometric origami principle which outlines the rules for the triangular subdivision of a 2-dimensional shape and assigns mountain and valleys creases to each subsequent subdivision the Spiralhedron has been optimised through both digital and physical testing. Reflection takes an abstract approach to this years theme, the pavilion’s form manifests itself as a result of mirroring this singular Spiralhedron in the X,Y and Z axis, which in turn creates its enclosing plywood form. In order to create the semi-private confessional screen, the panels incorporate a pattern, providing both the function of privacy, but also narrating the origins of the pavilions final form.

Lorna Jackson_Reflection_Meta Diagram_PNGLorna Jackson_Reflection_constructionLorna Jackson_Reflection_Large Model_thin

The principles of Burning Man are carefully considered, by providing an interactive base for participation that is never fully accomplished without the burners involvement. By sharing their stories, burners create a unique experience manifested through the ideals of trust and sharing, which facilitates a special bond between the burners. Upon its burning at the end of the festival, ‘Reflection’ becomes a resting place for the confessions, secrets and stories of its burners, allowing new bonds to be formed.Lorna Jackson_Reflection_detailLorna Jackson_Reflection_Small Modelthin


Due to form being created through the act of mirroring the entire pavilion will be made of 9 unique laser cut panels which will be bolted together with both metal hinges and 90 degrees and wooden brackets at 135 degrees.

Lorna Jackson_Reflection_Daytime Visual


Constrained by the size of a plywood sheet each individual Spiralhedron is made of two sheets of plywood (requiring 16 in total). Made of eight spiralhedrons ‘Reflection’ has a footprint of 3.5metres*3.5metres with a maximum height of 3.5m creating a footprint equal to that of the height of the pavilion.

Some joyous proposals for both Burning Man and Buro Happold’s London office at yesterdays crit, the first of the year.

Our guest critics were Andrew Best, James Solly, Andrei Jipa, Harry Charringdon and Ben Stringer. Thank you all for your inspiring comments and tireless enthusiasm throughout the day.

Here are some images of the exciting work coming out of the studio this year, more to come 🙂

Frozen music pavilion by Toby Plunkett inspired by the soundwaves inside a cube

Frozen music pavilion by Toby Plunkett inspired by the soundwaves inside a cube


Diana Raican’s transforming cubes model


Diana Raican

Burning Man proposal by Diana Raican exploring fractal cubes


Garis Iu

Bent timber pavilion by Garis Iu

Naomi Danos Andrei Jipa

Guest critic and DS10 alumni Andrei Jipa with Naomi Danos’s hypar surfaces model


Inspired by Cairo tesselation, playful pavillion by Sarah Stell

Sarah Stell’s model capturing the translation of cubes into dodecahedrons

Lianne Clark’s animated keyframe light and shadow explorations

Jon Leung’s bismuth inspired pavilion

Aslan Adnan’s perturbated pavilion inspired by crystal growth patterns

The Tower of Power by Tobias Power

Rheotomic surface installation by Tobias Power

Charlotte Yates animated jitterbug model proposed for Buro Happold


Lorna Jackson’s spidron installations at different scales


Joe Leach’s pavilion of timber tension


Tom Jelley’s anamorphosis experiments remapping geometry


Tom jelley’s magical anamorphic proposal

We are approaching the first “crit” of the term and our students are already proposing joyful projects for the Burning Man festival and Buro Happold’s newly refurbished HQ on Newman Street. The talented photographer NK Guy ( and gave an excellent evening lecture at our campus to inspire our students and for the release of the book “The Art of Burning Man” (Taschen) which will feature some of our studio’s work. Here are couple images of the student’s project and of our buzzing DS10 space (pictures by Toby Burgess):

Aslan Adnan's early proposals for Buro Happold and Burning Man

Aslan Adnan’s early proposals for Buro Happold and Burning Man

Aslan Adnan's Explosive Recursion

Aslan Adnan’s Explosive Recursion

Joe Leach's early proposal for Burning Man

Joe Leach’s early proposal for Burning Man

Tom Jelley's Mirror deformation of 3d geometry using the inversion principle.

Tom Jelley’s Mirror deformation of 3d geometry using the inversion principle.

Lorna Jackson's kerfed Spirohedron. (spidron ™ )

Lorna Jackson’s kerfed Spirohedron. (spidron ™ )

Garis Iu's Curved Folding Components

Garis Iu’s Curved Folding Components

Toby Plunket's 3D Cymatic

Toby Plunket’s 3D Cymatic

Lorna Jackson's kerfed Spirohedron. (spidron ™ )

Lorna Jackson’s kerfed Spirohedron. (spidron ™ )

DS10 WeWanttoLearn's  buzzing Studio Space

DS10 WeWanttoLearn’s buzzing Studio Space

Ieva Ciocyte's Tree Bundling Truss

Ieva Ciocyte’s Tree Bundling Truss

Naomi Danos Folded Hypar volumes

Naomi Danos Folded Hypar volumes

NK Guy, author of The Art of Burning Man giving a lecture to our students

NK Guy, author of The Art of Burning Man giving a lecture to our students

NK Guy, author of The Art of Burning Man giving a lecture to our students

NK Guy, author of The Art of Burning Man giving a lecture to our students