Paper engineering artist Matt Shlian produces incredible forms from the ubiquitous, everyday material. Making strategic and precise folds, he creates stunning geometric designs built with tessellations. The three-dimensional pieces are often crafted in bone-white or black-colored paper, which highlights the beauty of each shape through subtle shifts in tone. Large or small, each of these monochromatic sculptures has a mesmerizing repeat element to it.
Shlian’s interest in the medium and his engineering skills have yielded unlikely collaborations. He’s worked with scientists at the University of Michigan “on the nanoscale, translating paper structures to microfolds.” The two groups click because of their shared sense of curiosity. The scientists use the folds to visualize cellular division and solar cell development. Shlian, on the other hand, says that he’s guided by wonder. “I begin with a system of folding and at a particular moment the material takes over,” he writes. Continuing, “My work is made because I cannot visualize its final realization.”