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An Impossible Object That Would Make M.C. Escher Drool [Video]

It casts three different shadows, depending on the angle of light!

An Impossible Object That Would Make M.C. Escher Drool [Video]

That object you see above isn’t a box made of McDonald’s coffee stirrers by a meth addict. Nope, “Shadow Cloud” was fabricated using 3-D printing, and it hides a bit of clever magic: Those little panels in the grid seem random, but they actually align at certain angles, thus creating distinct 2-D patterns. Three separate patterns, in fact.

Which means that when you shine a line through the thing, it creates three separate shadows. Prepare to be amazed:

For obvious reasons, that particular piece is called “Thru Religion,” and it was created by Drzach & Suchy–it makes perfect sense that the duo has a grad-level background in architecture (that’s Drzach) and crytopgraphy (Suchy).

It goes without saying that if not for 3-D modeling and rapid prototyping, this thing would be essentially impossible to make, unless some monk dedicated years to the effort. Instead, it’s a computer model that you pop into the rapid-prototyping machine, and emerges a few hours later.

We can’t wait to see how Drzach & Suchy extend and apply the idea. They tell Co.Design that they’re working on a larger installation that will display an entire three-word message (you can see a version of that idea at :40 of the video above.) And they’re also considering using tiny solar panels as building blocks (similar to this project)–“so that the clouds can spin using its own energy,” as they tell us.

The mind races: You can imagine all sorts of cool objects, ranging from lampshades to full-blown furniture–imagine a chair that casts a shadow of another, different chair, or a dining table that casts shadows of delicious bacon, duck or ice cream, depending on the time of day. Which reminds us, we should go eat breakfast.

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.



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