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starting point: The Philip Ball reading, Pattern Formation in Nature, provided a starting point for my idea generation. The reading highlighted the comparable features found in nature between species, land and other forms, which indicate self-regulating interactions between different components in nature. I particularly found the spontaneous, yet purposeful nature of pattern formation to be quite interesting.

583593 Angela Mok

The lecture also highlighted that not all patterns are visible to the human eye, and that there are unlimited ways in which we can view the world.


water across sea


Movement inturn creates landforms



recycling/ creating new continental crust

across land sand dunes

volcanic eruptions

plate tectonics


chemistry landforms


finger prints


visible to the human eye


brainstorm: patterns found in nature hidden from the human eye reoccurring

plants animals



light spectrum

gamma rays complex systems

583593 Angela Mok

defensive mechanisms/ adaptations



The southern-three-banded armadillo has a shell adaptation which acts like 'armour' to protect the animal from prey. When provoked, the armadillo will roll up into a ball-like form (as show in the photo), completely encasing its 'soft' tissue from harm. The shell is divided into three main segments with a curved part at the bottom. The shell is laced with a repetition of small, rounded cubes. Once rolled up in it's ball-like form, smooth sections may also be visible between each of the three segments. The southern-three-banded armadillo is the only species of armadillo that can form the ball-shaped form. Thus, the patterns formed by these shells differ from other species of armadillo. The shell's of other armadillo species can display even more complex patterns, such as triangular patterns mixed in with cubes.

Each armadillo shell is slightly different, much like human beings fingerprints, displaying different combination of patterns.

583593 Angela Mok

the armadillo

natural form

After brainstorming a selection of ideas, the natural form of animal adaptations intrigued me the most. It was interesting to see how patterns could be incorporated into an animals anatomy, showing how even though they occur spontaneously, patterns in nature act to serve a purpose.

An interesting concept which came up whilst I was researching the armadillo, was the use of its shell in architecture. Many architects have used the overlapping shell as an inspiration for roof designs, often referring to the technique as 'armadillo'.

Drawing from the industrial-feel of the SECC, as well as the original purpose of the armadillo shell, I would like to create my lantern to have an armour-like quality. By combining the main pattern of the overlapping segments with the sub-pattern of the geometric shapes, I would consider affixing the lantern onto the shoulder or forearm of the wearer to further represent the idea of armour.

583593 Angela Mok

the armadillo


I found the Scottish Exhibition Conference Center (SECC) in Glasgow, Ireland to take this literal interpretation of the armadillo shell to be highly intriguing. The exterior of the auditorium is made with aluminium-clad shells which reflect sunlight. By night it can also be lit up from within, creating a prominent feature on the Glasgow skyline. The building is often described as 'industrial' due to its construction materials.

Continuing with the concept of patterns found among animal adaptations, the butterfly wing struck me as the most obvious. Just like the armadillo shell, each pair of wings are unique in design. They act as a camouflage, some even symbolise a set of eyes, to warn off predators and protect themselves. The wings also release pheromones and used to attract mates. The average butterfly wing consists four segments, two larger portions on top and two smaller portions bellow. They have 'veins' that run through the portions, further segmenting each into smaller sections. In some cases, they may even look like scales.

A way in which I would utilise these properties in my lantern would be to manipulate the wing structure into more of a petal structure and situate it on the head like a hat. Having varying designs on each wing would also be an interesting idea to grapple with.

583593 Angela Mok

the butterfly

natural form

The patterns which interest me the most are not only the colours, but the sub-divisions of having a pattern within a pattern and also the unique design of each wing. Also the reflective properties of some butterfly wings also act to reflect light, further creating different patterns.

The wave-like patterns of dessert dunes are similar to ripple markings along water, further signifying the similarities shared among patterns found in nature.

They can also be formed in temperate regions where water (precipitation) run across the sand. The latter dunes can be seen along coastlines. Desert dunes not only form visible patterns and markings along the surface of the sand, but it also indicates the wind direction and pattern of which it travels. This fits in with the concept of visible and 'invisible' patterns. Some of the most artistic displays of sand dunes exist in Australia, in particular the sand dunes of western Australia. Pictured here are the Cervantes and Lancelin sand dunes.

I would like to manipulate the patterns of the sand dunes to create a draping across the shoulder/ torso, if picked for my lantern design.

583593 Angela Mok

natural form sand dunes

To expand my thinking, I chose to look at patterns from another perspective- through the form of sand dunes. Sand dunes are caused by winds travelling across the sand of desserts.

references: Ball, P, 2012, Pattern Formation in Nature, AD: Architectural Design, Wiley, 82(2), March, pp. 22-27

583593 Angela Mok


week 1, module 1 task


week 1, module 1 task