Kinetic Ikebana




Blender, 3D printing, ikebana, fabrication

Whether it is Theo Jansen’s wind-powered sculpture or Dale Chihuly’s Garden And Glass, it is always magical to see kinetic sculptures simulate the movements of organic creatures. On the other hand, ikebana serves the opposite quality - the thriving, organic flowers are shaped into points, lines, faces and colors under the careful curation of the artists. What if the two worlds collide with each other?

A clean pedestal and a top-down spotlight made the whole piece stand out and shine like a precious plant sprouting under the sun!


I was first inspired by the livelihood and elegance in the timelapses of plants sprouting and the curves in ikebana. Similarly, sculptural works by artists like Dale Chihuly also capture the sensitive, poetic, emotional quality in nature.

3D Modeling

Through adjusting a sphere gear model, I added modular design on top of the gears. I then explored different curves and simulated the vine movements in Blender to see them in motion.  

Physical Fabrication

I 3D printed the form both on HP color 3D printer (for accuracy and light weight) and PLA 3D printer (for fast prototyping). I shelled the original core to fit a high-torque gear motor inside to control the movements. The challenges here are -

making sure the center gear is securely tightened to the motor shaft without slipping (achieved by using shaft connector and superglue);

placing the center gear at the perfect center so that it makes full contact with other gears without slipping;

Display Design

I explored two types of supports to celebrate the organic movement of the sculpture. The one using driftwood branch and stone echos the livelihood of the sculpture better than the footed plate.