Derek Chen

Maggie L. Walker Governor's School
Virginia, USA

I have a great interest in geometry, and especially the Japanese art of paper folding, origami. I hope to channel these passions into my work, and attempt to create original designs with every one of my works. Aesthetics are one of my primary goals, but alongside that I hope to incorporate simple geometric designs that are beautiful in their own right. Currently, I am in a seminar in high school with a focus on exploring mathematical art, which has helped me explore my passion for origami in a new light.

The Walled Citadel
The Walled Citadel
2 x 9 x 9 cm
Paper, Wood, Acrylic

This design was my first foray into the design of origami tessellations, inspired by the geometric tilings found in Islamic architecture. I experimented with the square grid, and by repeating a simple fold that arranges the paper orthogonally, I found I was able to tessellate a three-dimensional pattern. Viewed from above, the tessellation can be taken as a tiling of two different irregular octagons and a 2:1 rectangle, with squares nestled within the larger, recessed octagons - said octagons also create the striking pattern of light and shadow in the work. Theoretically, this design can be repeated indefinitely on a plane of paper, though in the piece it's limited to a 32x32 grid due to the increasing challenge of manipulating the paper.