[Maths-Education] Maths-Art Seminars at London Knowledge Lab: Developable surfaces and D-Forms, 12 June 2007

Phillip Kent phillip.kent at gmail.com
Mon May 14 16:27:13 BST 2007


*An LKL Maths-Art seminar by
Tony Wills , Wills Watson + Associates
John Sharp, London Knowledge Lab

Tuesday 12 June, 6.00 – 7.30pm

*Every so often you learn of a new concept that is so simple you wonder why
it was not thought of before. One such case is D-Forms, where surprising and
often new three dimensional forms are created by joining the edges of two
flat surfaces that have the same length of perimeter.  D-Forms are
developable surfaces because they are formed from flat sheets. This talk
will begin by looking at the properties of developable surfaces and their
different types. Since D-Forms have much in common with the sculptural forms
of artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Constantin Brancusi and Naum Gabo, it
will also touch on the use of developable surfaces in art and architecture.

The concept of D-Forms was invented by Tony Wills. As a product designer,
Tony has developed such products as the D-Form street furniture range which
uses D-Forms as moulds into which artificial stone is cast to create elegant
architectural elements. They have also been investigated for aircraft
propeller shapes.

The flat surfaces for creating a D-Form should be made of material that does
not stretch or shear. This excludes woven material, though this does not
mean that the concept cannot be extended in that direction, except that the
surface will deform. Depending on where you have chosen to start the join
the two surfaces, each face "informs" the other what three dimensional form
to finally produce. The emerging D-Form continually changes shape as the
edge joining progresses. The final D-Form that results only appears when the
process is complete.

John and Tony have worked together on exploring D-Forms, and one result of
the collaboration is the concept of "Anti D-Forms". Rather than work with
pairs of surfaces, we decided to try to join two holes with equal
perimeters. Not only did this work but we found we could take the surfaces
that we had removed to make the holes, construct the "positive" D-Form from
them and insert it precisely within the anti D-Form. This is just one
illustration of the possibilities we will show.  John has written a book to
be published later this year, covering the basic geometry of D-Forms with a
set of models to construct.

TIME: 6.00 - 7.30pm, Tuesday 12 June 2007
PLACE: London Knowledge Lab, 23-29 Emerald St, London, WC1N 3QS
[Travel information / Maps at:

All welcome. No reservation required, but an email to
lkl.maths.art at gmail.com would be appreciated for planning purposes

*NEXT SEMINAR: September (speaker and date to be announced)

Visit the website and seminar archive: http://www.lkl.ac.uk/maths-art
Join the email list for future seminar announcements:


Dr Phillip Kent
London Knowledge Lab - Institute of Education
23 - 29 Emerald St
London WC1N 3QS
p.kent at ioe.ac.uk
tel 020 7763 2156   mobile 07950 952034
* *

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