Swirling Seas, Crystal Balls

Spirals of triangles crinkle into intricate structures

By Ivars Peterson, 15:55 PM April 15, 2008

A field of triangles crumples and twists into a wavy crystalline sea. A crystal ball sprouts spiraling, labyrinthine passages. Faceted bricks stack snugly into a tidy, compact structure. Underlying each of these objects is a remarkable geometric shape made up of a sequence of triangles—a spiral polygon that resembles a seahorse's tail.

Hungarian industrial designer and graphic artist Dániel Erdély called the form a spidron when he discovered it in the early 1970s. In so doing, he evoked the f...

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