Co.Design

An Awesomely Complex Kite That Looks Like A Pyrite Crystal

The sky-skimming architectural marvel took nine months to build.

No matter your age, there’s something wondrous in getting a kite to take flight. So imagine the buoyant delight of getting a seven-foot cubic kite off the ground (or, in this case, two of them strung together with a smaller one). That was the feat of Ivan Morison and Sash Reading, who conceived and designed, respectively, the Bucky-esque masterpiece and took it for a test flight in Jersey, England.

Called "Three Cubes Colliding," the kite is made of aerospace fabric and 1,700 3-D printed connectors and, Reading tells Co.Design, was inspired by the tetrahedral kite experiments of Alexander Graham Bell and the mineral structure of pyrite. It took the production studio Queen and Crawford nine months to engineer and construct the kite by hand. Sure beats Ben Franklin’s stick-and-paper model.

[Photos by Matthew Porteous; drawing by Emily Thurlow]

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7 Comments

  • Bab

    Meweber, the design is actually near perfect for a kite. Tetrahedrals have the best weight-vs-lift ability. Bell tried a box kite in his original attempts at flight, and the two-room sized object needed a hurricane force wind to lift it. A tetrahedral just as big only needed a good breeze.

  • Billdale

    A@ Bab: as striking as it is visually, I cannot imagine it could be anywhere close to being as efficient as you imagine. It's basically an airfoil, and any design with huge amounts of internal surfaces cannot benefit from the airflow they require to create lift. The most efficient design-- whatever that might be-- would be very simple, and have as much surface exposed to clean airflow as possible.

  • Blacque Jacques Shellacque

    I had one of these when I was a teenager. It was made by Synestructics, of Chatsworth CA.

  • Meweber

    It is an awesome sight to see floating in the air but it looks to be a poor design for a kite. Kudos to the crew who had the imagination and tenacity to create it and then fly it. I salute you all!