Swiss design studio Drzach & Suchy created a printed haiku that can only be seen in the underwater shadows cast by thin, 3-D printed sheets. Inspired by water striders, insects that perch themselves on the surface of water and appear invisible except for the shadows they cast on the ground below, the technology is a beautiful mimicry of nature.
Designing a sheet thin enough for light to shine through, yet thick enough to float on top of water, was a tricky task. The designers explain, “We wanted to mimic water striders and achieve a similar deformation of the water surface, yet in a controlled way, to be able to ‘paint’ on the water. The goal was to create a structure, a kind of net or grid with varying heights, which could float on water surface and deform it at predetermined spots: the dominant parts of the net should be touching the surface causing the shadow spots, while the others should be hanging above the surface, letting the light go through.”
First beginning with fishing wire, the pair felt confident to move onto 3-D printed material for their final product. They hope advancements in 3-D printing can bring them closer to creating sheets that are almost invisible to the naked eye – just like water striders. While the choice of the haiku – “old pond / frog jumps in / sound of water” by Matsuo Bashō – fits the theme of the project, the team says any bitmap image could be printed on the sheets to cast mind-bending shadows through the water.
Via Fast Company
Images via Drzach & Suchy