Wednesday, 17 August 2016


I came across a very interesting geometric shape, an object with 7 openings (faces). It is composed out of 4 equilateral triangles and 3 kite-shaped openings. The kite is composed by cutting a similar sized in half and arranging the parts along their longest sides.

Mathematically speaking, it would be classified as diminished trapezoid, or as a heptahedron. You can find 7 a lot of times: Number of openings, number of crossings (vertexes), it's entire surface area is 7 times that of an equilateral triangle, there are 3 crossings with 4 trajectories, and 4 crossings with 3 trajectories.

I build it easily as tensegrity structure, with my simplest construction method. 3 of the 12 edges are shorter (with a factor of sqr(3)/2 ), which I guesstimated for the first build. The model tends towards a circular shape, the elegant elongation of Frank Chester's models gets a bit lost. I experiment with using different spins of the 4- and the 3-trajectory crossings, yet set on its triangular base, it tends to 'go bubbly'.

A larger model, with a better approximation of the strut length comes closer to the desired appearance of an elongated object when suspended from the top corner. Maybe there's a simple way of keeping it 'slim' by ways of an internally suspended structure.

 Chester demonstrates in his presentation how his chestahedron relates to 4 of the 5 Platonic Solids, embeds the Golden Ratio and how it fits into the Flower of Life.

PS: I found a document having the angles and strut length relationships. The shorter struts have a 0.53 factor in relation to the base length. The latest models use a 0.5 factor, which increased their optical appeal and structural stability. The slimness I missed once I found in the proper proportions.

I recycled 75cm bamboo struts for the largest version so far. Standing on its triangular base, the structure resembles an obelisk. A teardrop shaped former bed post top is suspended from the top three struts. At the moment, it's suspended using the same type of string used overall. I will replace it with fishing line, and adjust the length so that the centre of the object indicates the centre of the hidden hexagram.

PPS: While the teardrop/bell shaped centre piece isn't probably in the centre of hidden hexagram, it attached it already in a 1:1.61 relationship (height from ground:length to the top). As the object has three points of contact with about 30 degree from vertical I plan to use some hollow plastic tubes as support anchors for them in the ground. The relatively high mount point of the bell will topple the object if it is too far from the centre.

It's fun to play a bit with this piece - the pendulum creates interesting patterns of movement, even in a still state of the pendulum. The visual effect of white paint peeling off, combined with pink string, appears very harsh. In outdoor conditions, the original bamboo will reappear, the strings will bleach. It will grow over as well - the patch I want use is fertilised with three mouse corpses, mulch and saw dust, with heaps of mustard seeds.

The 4-strut tetrahedron in my front yard turned invisible. A ranking plant took it over, and attacked the two brugmansias next to it. I expected this plant to die back in winter, but I noticed only the comfrey and chamomile to die back. I want to prune the rosemary next to the patch where the 'Mottled Heart' will live.

Most of my outdoor creations didn't survive more than some months. The first 'garden model' still lives, more than I want to. Mold has taken hold of the repurposed broomsticks, so I need consider treatment for materials meant to sustain outdoor conditions. The fierce sun bleaches lots of colour, which is why I'm curious curious about the change in colour especially with the pink string.

The dodecahedron above the office block still twirls around on a string. The prevailing wind often nails it to the eastern wall, but a change in wind direction brings it back to a floaty space. The nylon string I use mostly stretches a little bit over time, yet it still looks sufficiently tense. I use the same string for 'Mottled Heart', which might need readjustment over time. My estimations for string length meant it's not too easy to take a cm out of the overall length.

I already fell in love with the interactivity of this object. Anchors will hopefully provide a minimalist way of preventing being blown away by the wind, or toppled over by over ambitious experimentalists. The wind can mainly attack from one side, so the movement shouldn't get out of control. With spring on the door step, plants will use the support to grow intro different spaces.

The last garden sculpture was destroyed during a party. The project gained some useful insights, yet even without the destructive effort it wasn't meant to last. Replacing the stinky compost place with a beating heart appeals to me.

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