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Saturday, March 26, 2011

QuaDror

At Design Indaba in February Dror Benshetrit unveiled QuaDror, "a new space truss geometry that unfolds manifold design initiatives and can adapt to various conditions and configurations." I was a bit hesitant to hop on the media bandwagon in the ensuing weeks, mainly because I have a hard time believing that a new structural system could just come into being now, after centuries of progress (why not already?), and I'm not a fan of products labeled with the designer's name. Regardless, after letting the initial hype die down I took a look at it QuaDror and find it appealing for its simplicity and open-ended applications. At first glance it's a mix of Bucky Fuller and IKEA, the former's triangulated structures and the latter's popular flat-pack characteristic. Seeing the movement of some of the prototypes in Dror's demonstration, I'm also reminded of the genius-folding-engineer Erik Demaine.

dror1.jpg
[QuaDror - Rotomolded Wall | image source]

According to the literature on QuaDror, the system has been in development for four years, since 2006 when "experimenting in the workshop, Dror discovered a serendipitous geometry." Traces of the interlocking L-shaped pieces formed into a three-dimensional sawhorse-like configuration can be seen in his entry to the Contemplating the Void exhibition at the Guggenheim about a year ago.

dror2.jpg
[Guggenheim Wall | image source]


Like any design innovation, heralded or not, its implementation will be the most sure sign of QuaDror's worth. Depending on material and size of the pieces, anticipated uses include interior dividers, noise barriers, roadway supports, disaster relief structures, and even building frames. The system has the possibility of being simultaneously structure and porous skin. Perhaps its biggest detriment is the source of its strength: the 43-degree angle formed by the leaning pieces in a wall configuration make it a hard fit with furnishings, be it 90-degree furniture or even paintings. In this sense its insertion into the rotunda of Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum is apt; that space is celebrated for its architecture, but it frustrates curators trying to insert exhibitions on or in front of leaning and curving walls.

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