The push to make a dragon staff came about when our friend and dragon staff spinner Francois Erb came to visit the flowspace in 2015. Francois thought to give an impromptu dragon staff workshop, and Sean gave himself a 5-day deadline to come up with a solution. In those 5 days, he upped his illustrator skills and came up with the manta ray design to secure capsule lights to a "dragon disc" that attached to the composite staff.
The shape of the manta ray emerged as we were exploring the optimal interplay between strength, durability, required mounting points and minimal material weight, while designing with the fewest vector points possible. A few tweaks brought to life this inspiring and graceful animal with its iconic curves, the cephalic fins around its mouth, and the claspers on its tail. The marine theme continued as the shape of the support discs took on the appearance of a whales' tale as they followed the lines of the primary disc, and the outermost support began to look like the metal reinforcement around the keyhole to a futuristic pirate’s treasure chest.
We did not begin with the manta-marine theme in mind when we set out to develop the structure. As with many of our designs, we are their conduit for manifestation as we seek to solve mechanical challenges, while honoring the beauty and intelligence of nature. Call it the viral beauty of nature using us as their host ;)