10th January 2012
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a kite
By Phil Barker

Heather and Ivan Morison’s Little Shining Man is “a sculpture with the potential for flight.”

The majority of people have tried flying or even making their own kites at some point, but in most cases it’s easiest to stick with a large bit of paper, cheap and lightweight materials like bamboo, and a huge piece of string. Heather and Ivan Morison, with the help of Sash Reading, have taken the concept a step further, using high-tech aerospace materials to create an innovative design.

Heather and Ivan Morison’s Little Shining Man is like no other kite, with the couple claiming that it’s a “sculpture that has the potential for flight”. The creation is made up of hundreds of much smaller triangles, fused together to eventually make up a giant flying cube.

The Morisons’ give credit for the concept to Alexander Graham Bell and his iconic tetrahedral kite design, pointing out: “The design of the structure is based around the tetra kites of Alexander Graham Bell, multiplied out into colliding cubes that take their form from the cubic formations of the mineral Pyrite.”

The huge cube form of the finished design looks as far from a flying machine as it’s possible to get, which is where the use of incredibly lightweight materials comes in. The kite is constructed from carbon fibre rods and cuben fibre – a fabric material better known for use in the sales on racing yachts.

It’s the exotic finish that gives the Little Shining Man its second most distinctive characteristic, aside from the overall shape: the fact it’s eerily reflective yet transparent. There are plenty of holes throughout the kite for both air and light to travel through, and when flying in sunlight the giant cube really does look like a piece of floating art.

Being accustomed to flying, crashing and breaking regular and far cheaper kites, we wouldn’t dare take to the skies with the fruits of the Morisons’ hard work. Would you be happy to go flying with potentially priceless artwork?

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