Folding is an art and a science
Martin Steininger gives insights into the art of folding.
Japanese paperfolding was the inspiration for the FOLD idea. But it's one thing to be inspired by it and another to create a monumental kitchen that looks like origami. Martin, how did you come up with something like that and above all: how does it work?
"In my opinion, the design of a kitchen must be unique and functional. We are very successful in implementing this clear and straightforward design language in our high-end kitchens. The paper art of origami fascinates me. At some point, I had the idea to transfer the folding technique to our designs. I wanted to give the expressive kitchens even more conciseness, while at the same time, the massive cubature was supposed to appear light. This impression is created by the folding technique and because the body partly hovers over the floor. Until it worked at all, I had to learn how to conquer metals. An almost archaic process. So, we folded, edged, cut and welded the brass. Before we got the hang of it, a lot of things went wrong. And we're still practicing as we are testing out new materials."
What do you like about the Tombak material or metals in general?
"It is very special and due to the high copper content; the brass has a very beautiful and warm appearance. It looks a little like gold, but it’s much more resilient. In the past, it was used for the production of jewellery and watches, and it’s partly still used today for this purpose. It has a special feel and is nevertheless resistant. We have used black steel for the FOLD Luxury Black Edition.
This is raw steel exposed to extremely high temperatures, which gives it its typical blue-black patina. So, FOLD presents an expressive character. We'll keep on experimenting, it's exciting."
The thing with folding
FOLD has been manufactured by Steininger since 201x, the art of paperfolding has been known for centuries. Buddhist monks brought the art of folding from China to Japan around 600 AD. Independently, the European art of paperfolding developed, which spread to Western Europe via Spain in the 16th century. Initially, there were only simple models such as the crane (Japan) and Pajarita (Spain). It was the Japanese Akira Yoshizawa (1911-2005) who first created thousands of new models for which he compiled folding instructions. That was the revolution in origami. Since then, folding models made of paper have been created in an unprecedented variety and complexity.
In the 1990s, there were the legendary "bug wars" competitions for folding the most beautiful and detail-obsessed insect from paper. NASA researcher Robert Lang folded origami himself and even developed a computer programme for it (Tree Maker). Later, he used it for technical applications. Thus, an airbag is in principle also designed like an origami, since it "unfolds" in an emergency. The same is true for the giant solar sail that Lang developed for NASA, using traditional folding technology in order to be able to transport it. Fascinating insights into Robert Lang’s art can be found at Longorigami.com.