Thursday Salute to Originals: Cubic Kite Sculpture Takes Flight

Snow just started to accumulate here in the Cleveland area but somehow I’m already picturing myself embracing the spring breeze, like jogging in my shorts or flying a kite in the lake park. [Ok, I lied. I don’t fly kites, not since I was a little kid. Maybe that’s why I was attracted to this weighty-looking cubic kite created by artists Heather and Ivan Morison.] How did they manage to do it?

Cubic Kite Flying Sculpture Shining Man

This type of 3D kite that actually flies has a bit of history and it was originally called Tetrahedral Kite when first developed. In 1903, innovator Alexander Graham Bell published an article in National Geographic magazine proving that large-scale kites are possible. Instead of constructing one big wing, he built a kite in a tetrahedral structure with a number of small wings. The more small wings it has, the stronger the kite becomes because the surface to weight ratio is optimized.

Tetrahedral Kite Design Flying Close Up View

Today, Heather and Ivan Morison recreated the tetrahedral kite with a modern name, the 3D-Printed Little Shining Man Kite. They used carbon fiber rods, nylon connectors, and Cuben Fiber to “achieve the perfect combination of strength and weight”. The final sculpture would be comprised of three such structures and expected to fly once a year in the Jersey bay area.

Texture of Flying Kite Material Up Close View

The deceptive visual effect of Little Shining Man reminds me of how our team works with systems of delicate surfaces and technologically advanced LED lighting, creating structures that appear effortless once complete.  Just like flying the 3D kite, we are looking forward to changing the impossible to the possible on more of our projects in the new year, and reminding ourselves to infuse our work with a bit of playfulness!

Shining Man Kite Design Takes Flight in Air

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