Originally a graphic designer by trade, Peter Dahmen has taken his love for paper to new heights with his elegantly unfurling 3D paper sculptures. The German artist’s work takes many forms, from client-serving wedding invitations, books and packaging, to untitled personal projects such as the one pictured here.
Though his self-initiated sculptures often end up resembling real-world items like plants or buildings, the likeness is unintentional, a by-product of Dahmen’s organic creative process. “In this case,” he says, “I played around with a hexagon shape.” Adding more layers as the idea progressed “increased the complexity in a dramatic way,” culminating with the rounded arch and overall architectonic feel.
The process is a mixture of the hands-on and the computer-assisted, starting with rough handmade paper models—“that is the fastest process for finding out if my ideas are feasible”—that are clipped with a cutting knife at first, and later by a cutting plotter device for greater accuracy and intricacy. The final prototype is then disassembled and scanned. That’s the first time Dahmen touches his computer: “I draw each element with Adobe Illustrator to prepare the final elements,” he says.
You may also like:
Dahmen unfolded his first creation in 1989, during his years of design studies at the University of Applied Sciences in Dortmund. His goal was to create a huge paper sculpture, but his lack of a car made the idea unrealistic. “In order to transport it by local [transit], I decided to make it foldable,” he says. “I have never lost my interest in pop-ups since then.”
TIME 8 days from sketch to sculpture
PIECES 20 elements, cut from 15 sheets
PAPER Fedrigoni Splendorgel Extra White, A3 size
GLUE Solvent-based UHU Twist & Glue
See more of Dahmen’s work in the gallery below.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Designedge Canada magazine.
[Images via Peter Dahmen]