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Kolam Generator

Pulli kolam is a ubiquitous art form in south India. It involves drawing a line looped around a collection of dots (pullis) place on a plane such that three mandatory rules are followed: all line orbits should be closed, all dots are encircled and no two lines can overlap over a finite length. The mathematical foundation for this art form has attracted attention over the years.

Critical Computation Lab

Parsons MFA Design and Technology 2021

Generative Design


For the purpose of code, it is critical how we visualize kolams from a mathematical perspective we can structure. There are 4 shapes that go into kolams and depending on where they taper and inter-connect each shape is different. They are rectangles with curvature on different edges in the following form:

  1. None of the edges having a radius of curvatures

  2. 2 opposite edges having a radius of curvature

  3. 2 adjacent edges having a radius of curvature

  4. 3 edges having a radius of curvature

The Grid

  1. Started with creating a grid using nested for loops

  2. Created a variable "p" which is a function of the square root of the distance between the dots, since the pattern goes diagonally over the canvas

  3. Started coding as a function of rectangular shapes with different radii of curvatures for different rounded edges

Drag the mouse across the Canvas

Function Kolam F(n)​

  1. Manually structured 4 iterations of this particular style of kolam

  2. Created a separate function for each iteration

  3. Used MouseX, MouseY and conditional statements to show the kolam get bigger or smaller(generative)

Make Your Own
Generate your own​
  1. Hit Run

  2. Enter the number of loops you want your Kolam to have (1-20)

  3. Enter 1, 0 or 2 Followed by the Enter Key in the order of direction you want the Kolam loop in



I grew up with my grandparents in India and my grandmother used to make a kolam every morning as a part of her daily routine. This makes me reflect on the creative practices we have in our daily lives in many cultures. With colonisation and globalisation, we lose these habits or they simply become "uncool". This project inspired me to look deeper into my culture and taking away from it.

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