Popcorn for your Eyes

August 4, 2016

When we set about cooking up the humble pentagon into a range of new textile combinations, our idea was to create visuals that play with the eye and play with the mind. Shapes that shift perception. Just a little.

Call it popcorn for your eyes.

We were inspired by cellular structures in leaves, cracked glass, the cracked glaze of Celadon ceramics, broken earth, cloud formations.

The concrete results are a range of products - but we reckon is also worth sharing a behind-the-screen look at the conceptual/visual journey we took to get there.


Making the pattern pop

It started out as an exploration of our fondness for the pentagon form. Our ultimate destination was the creation of a series of textile designs for Woven Image.



Pentagons don’t normally nest on a two dimensional surface. Change the angles on two of the sides, so there’s three 90 degree angles and two 120 degree angles, and you get a shape that tessellates. You create a repeating pattern in other words, a tessellation, with a big range of applications, looks and possibilities. Our first ideas played with the pure geometry of the tessellation. It was a line-on-line experiment (as opposed to an exercise in light and shade, which we later employed). We came up with over 60 different examples in total — some of which we’ve distilled here into an animated GIF format.



We tried blurring things a little — and adding shadows — and there’s a real visual buzz to these versions. It’s fuzzy. It’s warm. It pops. The idea of evoking fractured glass or dry and cracked soil was our jumping off point.



We tried more close-focused techniques. We added colour and we worked with how our minds perceive different shades as three-dimensional objects. It’s amazing how differently a shape can be perceived even though it’s all based on the same DNA. In this GIF the beginning is a pure form in weight and colour. And then you vary the line weight and colour. Our inspiration was cells. Some of the patterns are reminiscent of what you see when you look closely at a leaf or a plant form. Others play with positive and negative shading and give you an almost Escher-like quality. Is it convex? Concave?


Set5 Switch Scale

We layered a big scale pentagon pattern over a small scale pattern. This led to a sense of “looking into” the pattern and gave us the opportunity to layer this further with colour.



We then took the pattern into bigger, mural-scale territory — which allowed us to explore further dimensions in colour and pattern and scale. In this instance the inspiration are cloud formations. Clouds are never the same twice, yet here we were working with a predictable, repeating pattern. We wanted to see if we could merge the random with the repeated. What you get is freedom and imagination, within this very ordered mathematical form. It’s a bit like pixellation. Suddenly you create something like autumn leaves or flowers in a forest. The paradox is it’s a crafted palette — within strictly defined boundaries — yet it feels “natural” and unplanned.



We experimented further with even finer detail and light and shade and arrived at places with echoes of indigenous art …



And we tried other looks evoking Middle Eastern and Islamic art …  appropriate given it turns out that the raw pentagon shape we’d stumbled on — and the tesselation it creates — is known as Cairo Tiling. The tiling, mostly dating from last century, can be found in a number of streets in the Egyptian capital.

Our interest with a tessellating pentagon had taken us into Cairo Tile territory which then, in turn,  took us to create designs inspired by the cellular structures in leaves, cracked glass, cracked ceramics, broken earth, cloud formations. Along the way we were influenced by and interpret these through transitions of tonality, random colour and experiments in three dimensionality.

Our fundamental plan was to use a different way of thinking. We were looking to create something as a simple visual that’s emotive and provocative. We were interested in treatments that play with the eye and play with the mind and give you certain illusions.

Popcorn for your eyes.


Wonderwalls and Shape-shifting Possibilities

Out of the 60+ concepts we’d developed, Woven Image chose to run with a range of disparate designs and produced a range of fabrics, wallcoverings and stencil-cut EchoPanels.

Here’s a selection of products available:



Echo tile cellular EchoPanel environmental screens (100% PET, 60% recycled) designed by bangdesign for Woven Image.



EchoPanel screen designed by bangdesign for Woven Image.



EchoPanel Mura Glow designed by bangdesign for Woven Image.



EchoPanel screen designed by bangdesign for Woven Image.



MIX HP high performance upholstery designed by bangdesign for Woven Image.



Wallcovering and screen designed by  bangdesign for Woven Image.