THE CURVE PLEAT



Draw an alternative to the traditional egg carton. That was one of the many assignments in the month-long entrance examination for the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in 1967, the year when Poul Christiansen, freshly graduated from upper secondary school, applied and was accepted. This assignment would prove to be life-changing for him.

I met him for a talk in Odense, at Le Klint, which he has created designs for since 1967.

You were asked to design an egg carton? ‘That was when I first began to fold paper while pondering how one might hold an egg in place. Prior to this, I had never folded anything more complicated than a paper aeroplane, but I was fascinated with curves and discovered through experimentation that you don’t have to fold along straight lines alone; you can also fold curves.
In 1956, in competition with 232 other studios, Jørn Utzon had won the competition to design the new Sydney Opera House. His winning project was groundbreaking in form, and I was very inspired by him and probably imagined that I would be designing large building constructions with curved surfaces.
’ Poul Christiansen explains.

After completing the specific egg carton task, I was unable to stop experimenting with folding. At an early stage, I realized that there is a mathematical regularity associated with curves and with the three-dimensional form that emerges when a plane is folded. That is what held my interest, and still does. I also realized that I could not rely on calculations alone to predict how the shape of the curve influences the resulting form but that my process had to alternate between experimenting, assessing the result and fine-tuning it in order to end up with a form that is visually appealing. Even today, with all the processing power provided by computers, it is impossible to go all the way using calculations alone.

I had the feeling I was making an entirely new discovery,’ says Poul. ‘I thought I was the only person drawing and pleating curves. Several years later I realized that I was neither the first nor the only one. I discovered that Bauhaus designers had also worked with pleating curves, although the efforts never led to finished products.

Today, ideas spread quickly via social media. You have to avoid that bombardment of information if you want to invent or discover anything. Somehow it’s toxic to your creativity to receive so many impressions.

Read the full length article on Poul Christiansen and Le Klint in HÅNDVÆRK bookazine no 5, buy the bookazine here




SINUSKURVEN

Tegn et alternativ til den velkendte æggebakke. Sådan lød en af de mange opgaver i den månedlange optagelsesprøve til Kunstakademiets Arkitektskole i 1967, året hvor Poul Christiansen med en studentereksamen i bagagen søgte og blev optaget. Opgaven skulle vise sig at blive livsdefinerende.

Jeg har mødt ham i Odense hos LE KLINT, som han har tegnet for siden 1967.

Du skulle tegne en æggebakke? “Det var i den forbindelse, jeg begyndte at folde papir, mens jeg spekulerede over, hvordan man kan holde på et æg. Jeg havde ikke tidligere foldet noget mere kompliceret end en papirflyver, til gengæld var jeg fascineret af kurver og fandt ved at eksperimentere ud af, at man ikke bare kan folde efter lige linjer, men også efter kurver.
Jørn Utzon havde i 1956, foran 232 andre tegnestuer, vundet konkurrencen om at tegne den nye operabygning i Sydney. Vinderforslaget var et formmæssigt nybrud, og jeg var meget inspireret af ham og forestillede mig vel nok, at jeg skulle ende med at tegne store bygningskonstruktioner med kurvede flader.”
Forklarer Poul Christtiansen.

“Jeg løste den konkrete æggebakkeopgave, men kunne ikke slippe foldeeksperimenterne. Jeg forstod tidligt, at der er en matematisk lovmæssighed forbundet med kurven, og den tredimensionelle form, der opstår, når fladen foldes, det var den, som interessererede mig, det gør den til stadighed. Jeg indså også, at jeg ikke til fulde kunne beregne mig frem til, hvordan kurvens udformning influerer på formen, men derimod måtte arbejde i en vekselvirkning mellem at eksperimentere, se på resultatet, finjustere for så at ende i en form, som tiltaler øjet. Selv i dag, med den computerkraft, man har til rådighed, er det umuligt at komme hele vejen ved hjælp af beregninger.”

“Jeg havde følelsen af at opdage noget helt nyt”
, fortæller Poul. “Jeg troede, at jeg var den eneste, som tegnede kurver og foldede. Flere år senere forstod jeg, at jeg hverken var den første eller eneste. Jeg fandt ud af, at der også i Bauhaus-skolens regi var blevet tegnet kurver og foldet, men også at det ikke havde udmøntet sig i produkter.

I dag spreder ideer sig hurtigt via sociale medier. Man må holde sig fri af det informationsbombardement, hvis man skal opfinde eller opdage noget. Det er på en eller anden måde dræbende for kreativiteten at få så mange indtryk.”

Læs hele artiklen om Poul Christiansen og Le Klint I HÅNDVÆRK bookazine no 5 som kan købes her