Mathematics Inspired Design: Elevation by Rinus Roelofs

‘Elevation’ is a multi-layered constructed by Rinus Roelofs made from simple paper elements that are loosely coupled to each other yet form a surprisingly solid model. The works of Roelofs are inspired by mathematics, materials and processes ranging from CNC milling to laser cutting to rapid prototyping.

The beautiful geometries of the Elevation series in particular are influenced by Leondard Da Vinci and Luca Pacioli in their book ‘Divine Proportione’ (1509). The book features many images of mathematics regular and semi-regular polyhedra including the cube and football with pentagonal and hexagonal faces.

Speaking of his mathematical inspriations, Roelofs told Dutch Design Week, where his works were most recently exhibited, the following: “Mathematical structures can be found all around us. We can see them everywhere in our daily live. The use of these structures as visual decoration is so common that we don’t even see this as mathematics. But studying the properties of these structures and especially the relation between the different structures can bring up questions. Questions that can be the start of interesting artistic explorations.”

He continues to explain his process as follows: “Since I use the computer as my main sketchbook these ideas come to reality first as a picture on the screen. From there I can decide what the next step towards physical realization has to be. A rendered picture, an animation or a 3D physical model made by the use of CNC-milling, laser cutting or rapid prototyping. Many techniques can be used nowadays, as well as many different materials. But it is all based on my fascination about mathematical structures.”

Roelof’s intriguing sculptural objects are made with all kinds of materials including in addition to paper wood metal and acrylic. He explains that his process starts with amazement and trying to understand what you see. Solving these questions leads to new ideas and new inspirations and new designs!