Nesting Icosahedrons

April 2017

Arduino, Physical Computing, 3D Design, Fabrication, Iterative Design, Code

Prompt: Create a suspended form, designed to adapt or respond to natural and artificial light, or air movement.

Design Statement

For this project I created nested icosahedron model, suspended with monofilament. The piece was designed to hang under the heating return fan system in the vestibule in the A wing of Sheridan College.

The piece responds to the air movement from the heating return fan and the changes in air current and pressure. Breezes and air currents move and rotate both icosahedra independently of each other.


Before designing and sketching models I explored the space the model was to be installed, in order to design the model for the space. I noticed the air pressure changes and naturally occurring currents in the vestibule due to the heating return fan, the difference in air pressure inside versus outside, and wind from outdoors that makes its way inside when the door is open.

I selected this vestibule as the model's dedicated space. Another requirement of the project is for the project to be suspended. This space was also ideal because I would be able to suspend the model from the heating fan, and proximity to the fan would maximize kinetic interaction from air movement.

I took initial inspiration for the model's shape from a desk organizer, which resembled a twisted cube, but is not a platonic solid.

Research + Ideation

I wanted to find a interesting polyhedron that had similar feeling and construction of alternating triangles in the desk organizer. In other projects I've used dodecahedra and dodecahedra, and wanted to experiment by designing with a different polyhedra. I researched and selected the icosahedron as it reminded me of the desk organizer due to it's similar construction of alternating inverted triangles. I began experimenting and testing materials for the form's construction.

Since the ceiling of the A wing vestibule is so high, it wouldn't be possible to have a magnet on the floor affect one suspended from the ceiling 8 ft above it. This required a structure to be built around or surround the form. This gave me the idea to nest a smaller icosahedron in a larger one.

Video of Phase One Installed