What’s a Paper Engineer? Only the most pulp-tastic job on the planet, that’s what. Basically, it combines the art of paper folding and the mathematical precision of awesomeness. Matt Shlian knows the intricacies of such a task and exactly what it takes to fold paper like time and space itself.

Starting with a computer generated model, he blends inspiration from biological interaction of polypeptide folds or virus structures, then transform paper into three dimensional works of art that are nearly enough to tear apart your understanding of geometric space. 50 SolidSmack points to the person who knows what 3D program he uses to create the concepts… I have no idea.

Matt Shlian

I’m taking this 3-dimensional model and I’m extracting different slices from it, as if it’s being chopped by an egg slicer. Each of those is then taken and transfered to paper. Then it’s redesigned as a flat model that is then built up again, and so it creates the same illusion.

As a paper engineer my work is rooted in print media, book arts and commercial design. Beginning with an initial fold, a single action causes a transfer of energy to subsequent folds, which ultimately manifest in drawings and three dimensional forms. I use my engineering skills to create kinetic sculpture which have lead to collaborations with scientists at the University of Michigan. We work on the nanoscale, translating paper structures to micro origami. Our investigations extend to visualizing cellular division and solar cell development. Researchers see paper engineering as a metaphor for scientific principals; I see their inquiry as basis for artistic inspiration. – Matt Shlian

Via Gizmodo


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.