Expanded Life

Expanded life is the brainchild of Israeli Architect & Designer friend of mine – Israel Yaniv. The idea came to him in his sleep while dreaming about expanded metal meshes… those being used for reinforcement of plaster or for the cladding of buildings (An architects dream – go figure). It took him 3 years to translate that dream of a mesh world into the first small expanded life creatures you’ll see here. I was completely fascinated by these little buggers and the process of making them, which references traditional crafts such as the anatomy pop-up books that first appeared in the 14th century and Japanese Kirigami (a variation of Origami) while leveraging advanced technology in manipulating metal – taking a 2d cleverly cutted out shape and manually expanding it to LIFE!

Photography by Yoram Reshef and Israel Yaniv | Music by SUMSUM

The Artifacts


The series of artifacts created by Paperna-Yaniv, called Expanded Life, includes small and very small (miniature) objects, some of which are functional, such as a hair clip or a jewelry box. These creations are based on the study of morphologies existing in nature, their translation into a 2D geometry and their manual expansion into 3D structures. This is somewhat similar to the DNA genetic code which includes the entire information required for the final development of the body. In these creations, just as in nature – the manner and extent of the 2D-geometry “opening” provides each item with its own uniqueness.


The artifacts are made of hard stainless steel which is cut using a photo-chemical etching technology. This technology is very accurate enabling a smaller than 1mm resolution. It is used, among other things, to produce parts used in electronics and medicine, such as the production of a metal expandable shield holding the arteries (stents). The unique production process combines mechanical work with manual work. This is why no artifacts are identical to one another. Each item is special and unique. The finished models are gold-plated, or polished stainless steel. The plated items as well the ones that are not plated, are totally resilient. They do not tarnish and their surfaces are not eroded. There is no need to clean them or provide any special care.

Israel Yaniv is an architect and the managing partner at Paperna-Yaniv Architects. Paperna-Yaniv is a boutique office handling various areas – architecture, product design, etc. paying close attention to the accuracy and quality of planning and execution. Yaniv’s love for architectural detailing and his in-depth knowledge of the various construction professions have led to the expansion of the office activity, which in the past few years has also included the planning of details such as lighting and design-art.

You can purchase a little expanded life for yourself at the TOUCHOFMODERN website where Israel Yaniv has a selection of his little creatures on sale.

Expanding it back to Architecture

The methods used to create the little ones is also expanding into real architecture design by Paperna-Yaniv Architects, and below you can see an example for a shading system they implement for a house in construction…

The panel up close…


A render of the shading in place…


The thing after construction…


This design went into my Design board on Pinterest. I invite you to follow me and see what other great things I’ve curated there for some time now.

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