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The word cielo translates to sky, ceiling, canopy, or heavens in Spanish and Italian. It is also used to describe clouds and other atmospheric elements. I've always been fascinated by clouds: they have both a visual weight and a sense of buoyancy. They create atmosphere in both the literal and figurative senses, establishing microclimates of light, heat, and moisture while also setting a mood for the areas under and around them. Clouds inspire daydreaming and creativity--who hasn't laid in the grass looking up at the sky, contemplating life and discovering animals in the clouds? I think a major reason for this is the fact that the sky is constantly changing, often imperceptibly, and we see something new every time we look up.

This project was inspired by the space between the many meanings of cielo. My goal was to construct a "cloud" that could create its own atmosphere, and encourage contemplation and daydreaming.

Step 1: Expanded Surfaces

Cielo is constructed primarily of custom expanded aluminum, created by cutting slits in a carefully arranged pattern on a flat sheet, then applying force to form it into a three-dimensional volume. When a flat sheet gets expanded, it creates a volumetric lattice consisting of hundreds of tiny folds, which gives the expanded volume great strength in multiple directions. Best of all, this is a zero waste process in which no material is discarded (in contrast to a perforated sheet, which wastes material and weakens the sheet). In fact, when you consider that you're increasing the perceived surface area of the original sheet by 25-50%, you could argue it's sub zero waste! Structure, volume, and opening are all interdependent.

<p>Hey Jeff.</p><p>Do you have any kind of algorythmic stuff you reference to create your patterns and cuts? I don't see anything like there here. How did you arrange your cuts?</p>
<p>Hi Cere, I've developed scripts in Grasshopper over the paste few years that I use for all different kinds of expandable patterns. The basic process is to establish the outermost and innermost lines of each cell, then interpolate a number of lines between them, then subdivide each of those lines to create dashes. It's obviously a lot more complicated than that, but that's the idea--I'll be updating this Instructable soon with more information on the patterning. </p>
<p>Ya, looking for a free alternative to Grasshopper/Rhino. Don't know how people afford that product. Wonder if there's a viable alternative?</p>
<p>It is still early days for Iogram but it should do the trick</p><p>https://github.com/MeshGeometry/Iogram</p>
<p>A-Mazing!!!!</p>
<p>Thanks a lot!</p>
<p>Looks really great, Jeff. And amazingly light, unless you hold it over your head for a long period of time...</p>
<p>Thanks for the compliment Scott, and the help with installation!</p>

About This Instructable

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Bio: Jeff Ponitz. Artist in Residence at Autodesk Pier 9. Architect and teacher interested in the relationship between material, geometry, and force.
More by jponitz:Cielo: Expanded Atmosphere Zero-Waste Sculptural Surface 
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