Introduction: SYSTEMATIC NARCISSISM (2012)

About: Twitter: @W_W_F / @WE_DESIGNS_LLC | IG: @WendyWFok

*Update: Systematic Narcissism has been selected as a Finalist for the Architizer A+ Awards 2013. Please show your support and vote for the Public Vote Award.

Systematic Narcissism is a hybridization through the notion of the planetary grid system and the symmetry of narcissism. The installation is based on the obsession of the physical reflection of the object/subject relationship, created by the idea of man-made versus planetary projected planes (grids) of which humans have made onto the earth. I.e.: Pierre Charles L'Enfant plan 1791 of the golden section projected onto Washington DC.

The fostered form is found based on a triacontahedron primitive and developed within the family according to the primitive angles. Every angle has an increment of 0.25m and is based off a logic-based system of derivatives. As indicated, the geometry of the world (or the globe) is based off the planetary grid system, which is a hexakis icosahedron grid system of the earth according to Bethe Hagens and William S. Becker; thus, the formal mathematical aspects of the installation are created by the offset within a basis of that geometric form.

The base of the planetary grid and narcissus reflection of the modular pieces act as intersections that operates as a system to shape the devised geometry of the interfacing modular, which upholds the installation.

Wendy W Fok

Jose Aguilar / Dillon Philips

Tommy Joe / Julie Truong

CONTACT: together (at)


VENUE: the Old Truman Brewery, London, UK

EVENT: TENT, London Design Festival 2012

DATES: 18 - 23 September, 2012

SPONSORED IN PART BY: Burdette Keeland Jr. Design Exploration Center Gerald D Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston Saifee Signs & Graphics, LLC atelier//studio WF PRESS: + GLASS MAGAZINE + DEZEEN (interview) + Art Served + suckerPUNCH + Architizer A+ Awards (Finalist)

AWARDS: + Architizer (Architecture+Fabrication) Shortlisted 2013 + AIA Dallas Women in Architecture ‘Express Yourself’ Award 2013


Systematic Narcissism is based on the dualistic processes of Poetics and Mathematics.

Poetics: Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself. The Greek myth which depicted a prince who sat by a reflective pond for days being self-absorbed by the beauty it contained, as he looked at the reflection of his own beauty.

Mathematics: In 1978, Professors William Becker and Bethe Hagens extended the Russian model, inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome, into a grid based on the rhombic triacontahedron, the dual of the icosidodecaheron Archimedean solid. The triacontahedron has 30 diamond-shaped faces, and possesses the combined vertices of the icosahedron and the dodecahedron.Their new model, which they later title “The Ring of Gaia”, revealed 15 great circles, 120 scalene right-triangles (with no equal sides or equal angles) and 62 node-points. The great circles divided each rhombic face into four right-triangles. Although having no interest in Earth grids, Fuller had previously noticed that these triangles and recorded their internal angles in planar and spherical notations.The model was eventually developed into the “Unified Vector Geometry” (UVG) projection, a connection of all of the vertices of the five Platonic solids placed inside a sphere, using Fuller’s “great circle sets” from Synergetics II. A total of 121 great circles appeared, increasing the number of vertices to 4,862. They proposed that the UVG grid could be a new geometric model for Gaia.


Systematic Narcissism was originally designed through McNeel and Associate's Rhinoceros3D and Python Scripting. The Rhinoceros3D CAD program enabled the design to be carefully and technically measured, and CAD modelled before the fabrication process. Procurement and also establishing the general design direction was through the 3D modelling process, whereby the individual modules were fitted specifically to the onsite specifications. Meanwhile, the Python Scripts allowed the variations of the modelling of the the triangulated pieces. After over a dozen iterations, we chose the design that best fitted the site and concept for the ease of fabrication, and delivery.


Designed with the flat-pack processing and delivery through checked-in luggage requirements for airline carriers, in mind. Systematic Narcissism was fabricated through the CNC mill, onto reflective mirrrored plexiglas.

The initial design concept is to enable the production of transportable and light boxed designed, that would be able to be shipped through three checked-in airline carrier requirement boxes. This was due to the limited amount of boxes the team would like to ship along the flight, and also minimized the headache of shipping the installation modules separate from our team.

The process of milling the pieces were simple and direct after 1 day of testing the precision of the mill onto the mirrored plexi. Our team was careful to ensure that the angles onto each modular was precise, so that each of the pieces could be easily adhered together through hot-glue gun. The total production time for the installation was 2 days of milling, and 2 days of assembly work, plus an additional 1 day for finalizing the packaging of the pieces. The total transported box were two airline carrier regulated boxes.


The final installation was made possible at the London Design Festival in London UK at TENT. The installation took 1 day, and all the pieces were carefully adhered onto the installation corner by stacking onto each other. The design of the modular system enabled the visitors to visually and passively interactive with the piece, while enabling them to reflect on the larger surroundings.

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