new ORIGAMI hat design at Easter Parade 新オリガミ帽デザインイースターパレードで

The Easter Parade came again this year. We have been creating new hat forms since we joined the parade in 2013. This year we experimented with a series of hats created from a single tube of origami. They are all composed of one sheet of paper (to be precise a tube). Six papers are combined to form a long tube, otherwise one long sheet of paper is cumbersome to handle. Precisely speaking, these final forms are not mathematically “origami”. Making a tube with origami is a precise mathematical process, however when it is bent to become a torus we are using the flexibility of paper. In other words, if the material is very hard it cannot be used to make these hats.


tube before folding. thin folding lines are printed. 折る前の筒、かすかに折れ線が印刷されている

Many people were attracted to these hats and constantly asked for permission to take photos. Some wanted their picture to be taken together with our models. They were amazed with the forms but strangely they didn’t ask any questions. Simply they don’t care how the hats are made? Or they are lost for words as they have not seen this design? Only a friend of ours asked questions to satisfy his curiosity.


I answered  “We don’t use any origami generating program software. We use Computer Aided Drawing software just to draw lines more precisely than hand drawing.”


“We fold for fun and for finding practical applications but also for transcendence through mathematics without equations and formulas.  If any computer program starts generating these forms automatically, I will quit origami.”


Please check different designs posted in the past. 過去のデザインもご覧あれ。

ORIGAMI chair, Science Museum Oklahoma オリガミチェア 科学博物館にて


Do you know about corrugated plastic or coroplast ? It has the same structure as corrugated card board but is made from plastic. It is very inexpensive and used for protection at construction sites, signage and packaging.  We designed a chair using this material a few years ago and since last week it is has been in an exhibition at the Science Museum of Oklahoma. The exhibition looks at many aspects of origami, from the traditional folded animals to modern abstract objects. It is at the Science museum where they have delved into the mathematics of this art.



The mid point of the video above shows the chair as part of their origami exhibition. Please take a look. This “continuum” is made by folding one 1.2m x 3m sheet, quite different from a typical chair which is assembled from legs, a seat, a back… It is very light; you can lift it with one hand but sturdy enough to sit on. This tube-like form is combined at the edges with stitches, generating the “continuum” which has enough strength to accept your weight. You can sit directly on the soft plastic seat but a cushion will make you happier. For more information, please go to a link below.






at OrigamiUSA オリガミUSAにて


our table-all from one sheet. 私たちのテーブル、どれも一枚の紙から。

One day out of the blue we got a call inviting us to an origami convention. We have no idea how did they found out we are interested in origami. We thought this would be a good opportunity to discuss our ideas about origami. Instead of just attending the conference we proposed that I could give a lecture and that we also wanted to present our origami works at their exhibition. After sending some images of our work we were quickly approved  and luckily the conference was being held in New York this year. We selected some works to take and prepared images of the pieces that were too big to bring to the conference. We completely packed our friend’s car with our origami and headed to the conference.



Transportation of this chair was the most difficult part. Why didn’t we collapse it? which is the nature of origami!! too late. この椅子を運び込むまでが難事業、折りたためばよかった!

Origami USA is the largest origami organization in USA with many origami lovers. This year approximately 800 people attended the 3.5 day conference.  There are lectures like the one I did and classes on how to make a particular origami object and many gatherings of origami folders. There is no hierarchy between lecturer and  audience; lecturers become the students in other classes and there are many different age groups.



from a sheet of paper!  by Tomoko Fuse R-40cm, 一枚の紙から!布施知子さんの作品 半径40cm

The exhibition highlights many origami works. There are all kinds of origami from simple cranes to unbelievably complicated animals, insects and abstract objects. Some are newly invented by researchers based on mathematics.  Anything seems OK if it is similar to Origami. Even mizuhiki or Japanese ornamental knot works were exhibited, which are beautiful but not folded at all.  (The mathematical link between knots and origami  may be discovered someday.) The organization covers so many concerns but is not split into specialized  sections. The researchers also exhibited some of their insect and bird works.  They simply love origami. Creative origami work attracts people’s attention but they do not stick on the originality. They do not mind if they find that someone has already  created the very same design before them. It is all right as long as you enjoy it. No one has a superior attitude to those who have newly joined and beginners.  Does the organization have this philosophy? or does origami itself possess it?  I was given 45minuutes  for my lecture on Monday the last day. After long  lecture, many people came to talk to me. I hope my lecture gave them some inspiration.

展示会場には、さまざまな作品が五万と展示されていた。ツルのような簡単なものから、信じられないほどの複雑な動物や昆虫の大群、そして抽象的なオブジェ まである。数学に裏打ちされた研究者による新作もある。オリガミならなんでもあり。オリガミとは直接関係のない、ミズヒキの展示や講義さえもある。(将来、組み紐とオリガミの数学的な関連が発見されるかもしれない。)参加者の層や関心ごとが多岐にわたっているのに、それぞれに分化していない。研究者も昆虫や鳥を折っている。彼らは本当にオリガミが好きななんだなと感じ入った。創造性のある作品は、注目されるけれど、みんなオ リジナリティに固執していない。独自作品とよく似ているのが過去に作られていたことが分かっても気にしな い。楽しければいい。だから、先輩面した人が一切いない。これはこの組織の特性なのだろうか?確実に言えそうなのは、これがオリガミの持つ大きな特典だということ だろう。講演にもらったコマは45分。長い講演を終えると、たくさんの人が話掛けてきた。新しいインスピレーションが生まれればとおもう。


from a sheet of paper! designed by Robert Lang. 一枚の紙から!ロバート・ラングの設計

The organization takes care of everything from organizing the space and amenities to registration of attendance at lectures and classes . This huge work is maintained by volunteers. We were supposed to volunteer one hour during the conference. But I forgot about it-it was our first convention and we were unfamiliar with everything. I talked to one of organizers who helped us set up the exhibition.  She said ” no problem! as long as you enjoyed”

組織は会場のセッティングや参加者の登録、手続き、窓口事務、などなど、参加者の便宜を図って支援をしている。これら膨大な仕事はすべてボランティアで維持されていて、講演者や展示者も、会期中に1時間のボランティアをすることになっている。ところが、初めての参加なので何が何だかわからず、アタフタしているうちに忘れていた。面倒を見てくれた担当者(当然、ボランティア)にその旨を伝えたら、曰く、「気にすることはないのよ、楽しかったら、それでいいのよ!」 アメリカだなあと思った。


hundreds of folded units are combined to form a ball. オリガミのユニットをたくさん組み合わせて、球にしてある

Origami Hepburn hat (continued) ヘップバーンのオリガミ帽子(続き)

At the Easter Parade some people questioned ” Where did the hole in the center of the heat come from? You cut it off after finishing folding right? “……a very good question. As we have been saying the hats are made of one sheet of folded paper, …. yes this is a cone, like the left one in the picture below. It becomes totally flat but the edges are continuous. Unlike a sphere, doughnut or saddle this surface does not have a bulges or any torsion. It is curved but flat and the layers of concentric circles that fold back and forth are similar in form.

前回の記事で、イースターパレードをしているときに質問があった。「帽子の中央の穴はどこから来るの?おりあげた後で切り抜くんでしょう?」… なかなか鋭い。オリガミでできた帽子は一枚の紙から折られてできているのだけれど、実は下の写真左側のような円錐状の紙からできている。押しつぶせば平らになるのだけれど、端が繋がっている。この面は球やトーナッツ、鞍点等と違って、膨らみや、捩れがない。曲がっているけれど、正真正銘の平面、平坦な面と言うことができる。


Our Easter hats are all folded this way as a cone and the pinnacle was pushed up and down as shown in the model above. We designed the hats to generate a spiral with the identical folding patterns at each level. The direction of the sweep is all in one direction, but the folding pattern of each layer can be switched to the mirror image in the middle of the process (the rotation direction can be flipped from the right hand to left hand and vise versa). The rule that I adapted of having 6 lines converges at a vertex gives total freedom for folding which makes the folding condition very flexible.  In the case of 4 lines converging it is not like this, the folding  condition between layers is not independent.

By the way, the central axis of the cone does not have to be aligned. Every layer can be pushed off center or  pulled up with a different axis like the model below.

イースターパレードに使った帽子は上の写真のように、このコーンの細っている部分を中に折り込んだり、また出したりすることでできあがるバージョンだった。上のモデルは最も簡単なコーンとその折り返しを繰り返したもの。各層がお互いに相似形になっている。オリガミ帽子になったときにスパイラルを描くように、回転方向をすべて同じにしたけれど、反対方向に回転してもあって も折が成立できるように見える(換言すれば鏡映パタンが含まれていても)。6つの線が交点に集まる線の数が6であること、4つの場合と異なり、折れ方の条 件を決定的に自由にする。4つの線の場合は、各層の間で折れ方が独立に決められない。



The lines on the paper are from recycled paper, not folding lines. 表面の線はリサイクルした紙にたまたまあったもので、折れ線にあらず。

This looks difficult to fold. what about the next one below?  Looks totally impossible. Is it really so? every flipped surface is a flat curve, which means you do not need to stretch the paper to fold it. So I think we can call this ORIGAMI too.




The Audrey Hepburn(s) オードリ・ヘップバーン達


Mesdemoiselles!! may we take your picture?  マドマゼル!写真撮って良い?


This years Easter parade on 5th Avenue was a beautiful spring day. We did not have so much time to prepare this year so we decided to reuse one of the existing design  from  last year’s parade and make 6 variations of  it. They are all similar but slightly different…so we  call them the “6 sisters”. Our friends and their friends helped us by being models. Some people may say the 6 sisters look like the petals of a rose. It is very appropriate for this parade which celebrates the start of spring.


The pattern before folding is exactly the same but by revising the order of the Valleys and the Ridges you can generate many variations,   V-R-V-V-R-R or V-R-V-R-V-R and so on. We picked the 6 most interesting forms among 6 x 6 combinations to create the hats. To be considered ORIGAMI they have to be made from a single sheet of paper, then the form becomes highly symmetrical like a flower. Actually it may be the way other around—-flowers are smiler to this folded hat… I mean the symmetry, periodicity and self-similarity you can recognize in this hat reflects the mathematical rules that may have something in common with the development of blossoms from a rule imbedded within the embryo….

折る前の紙にひかれた線のパタンは6つとも、すべて同じで、山谷を入れ替えることでバージョンができている。中心から、谷-山-谷-谷-山-山とか谷-山-谷-山-谷-山…などなど。6の二乗ほどの組み合わせの中から、6人の姉妹たちに合わせて面白そうな形になるものを選んだ。折り紙と呼べるには、一枚の紙から切り張り無しでできていないといけない。一点に集まる線の数は6本に制限して、対称性の高い形になっている。花の形にするためにこのオリガミを考え出したのではなくて、花を思わせるような形になるものを選んだに過ぎない。むしろ反対で、花がこの折り紙に似ているのではないか?ここにあるような規則性や対称性、自己相似性はシンプルな規則からできたもので、同じように胚から花弁に至る発達には、シンプルな法則が関与していているはず。それはこの折紙の折の規則に似ているかもしれない… もしかして。


Every year we are asked lots of questions but this year many people asked if we sell the hats or the hat  design, and they recommended that we do so, even if we do not sell them now. We did not have this question until this year. If someone were to help us launch the business, we might be able to start folding for a larger audience. But for now we fold them as art pieces. By the way did Audrey Hepburn wear a hat similar to this in a film? or do we just think she would look fabulous in this hat…..