Colin Liotta

Liotta Design
Berkeley, California, USA

I create art that builds on my fascination with math and the way that simple 2D parts can create complex 3D wholes.

I enjoy working with natural materials since there is something particularly delightful in the intersection of math and nature, chaos and order. Plus, it's nice to make art that can be touched.

My pieces are often made up of stacked layers of laser cut paper or hardwood that interact in interesting ways.

I rarely start with an exact vision of what I want to make. Instead, I mix and match different transformations and concepts until I serendipitously discover something beautiful.

Living Vases
Living Vases
20 x 20 x 15 cm
Wood and Magnets

By laser cutting a snaking pattern into wood it is possible to create a "living hinge" that allows the wood to elastically bend around a radius.

I have written software to automatically generate patterns that combine living hinges with rigid regions such that the wood will naturally bend into complex 3D shapes.

In this case I have created a series of vases and bowls that are radially symmetric and which combine several discrete regions of rigid and flexible wood to form the desired shape. The vases are held in place by magnets that are press fit into the edges of the wood, allowing the vases to be folded and unfolded easily and repeatedly.

Folded Polyhedra with Many Layers
Folded Polyhedra with Many Layers
10 x 10 x 10 cm
Walnut and Red Oak

These cubes are all formed from a single continuous folded strip of wood veneer that overlaps itself many times to form the distinct layers.

It is possible to laser cut a long snaking pattern of squares that when folded together forms a cube with the later squares overlapping the earlier squares. Every 12 squares form 2 additional layers to the cube and every edge of the cube is captured by a fold. The size of each square can be altered based on the thickness of the material to make everything line up perfectly.

Each square also has a specific pattern cut into it that when combined with the other squares on that face forms a complex geometric pattern.

I am in the process of expanding this technique to other polyhedra.