Quarry, by Raleigh-based Designer Ryan Dart, has been compared to a relief map, a network of high-desert caverns, a Paleolithic millipede, and—my favorite—”los fósiles típicos de la explosión cambriana” (translation: “the fossils typical of the cambrian explosion”—via Totonko). That a product made in N.C. is already receiving appreciative blurbs on foreign language sites would be praise enough, let alone that it inspire such esoteric flights of fancy as “Cambrian explosion.”
Quarry. Designed by Ryan Dart.
But such is the case with an innovative aesthetic, and Quarry, with its ingenious composition of interlocking panels of routed wooden laminates, certainly inspires an intensive session of metaphor shopping. Quoted as saying that Quarry was inspired by “fossils found while camping in Eastern Utah,” Dart gets credit for the archeological theme. And the comparison is certainly apt. If you’ve ever wandered through Canyonlands or Arches National Park of a mid-August eve, the carmine dusk illuminating the undulating sandstone cliffs, than you know something about Dart’s source of inspiration. Alternatively, if you’ve ever ventured way below ground—perhaps to the depths of Kentucky’s Mammoth Caves or Arizona’s Kartchner’s Caverns—Quarry might remind you of the stony icicles created by the epochal calcification of limestone, a phenomena scientists call stalactites.
There can be no doubt that Quarry—as its name might suggest—bears fruitful comparison to the time-shaped alteration of stone, but I’d venture that its appealing strangeness likens it to further phenomena: the supportive skeleton we each possess beneath our skin, the dreadlock-coated canines called Komondors, the computer-enhanced 3D grid drawings of imaginative virtual worlds, or even other furnishings—the Louis XV Buffet and Wine Rack, for one. One of the qualities I most admire about Quarry is its manipulation of rectilinear shapes, and just like the Louis XV Buffet, Quarry uses the straight lines of an interlocking grid to trick us into seeing an organic, curvilinear structure. The success of the design strategy is one reason why Quarry is so elemental and appealing: it reminds us how we instinctively respond to basic, pared-down forms.