While many of you have perhaps already seen or heard of the Quasi-Console by Aranda\Lasch, I think a brief re-visiting is in order, especially given that the NYC architectural firm has now created the Design Miami venue for two years running. “Distinguished by large horizontal fabric bands with a slight pitch which are stacked and wrapped around the entire structure, the panels give an impression of weight and substance.” Indulging an occasional propensity for narrow-sightedness, I must admit I hadn’t fully absorbed the temporary nature of the environs, at least not until Designer Clay Coffee drew my attention to it.
Quasi Console. Designed Aranda/Lasch.
Like the concept for the venue (which Ben Aranda characterizes as “quite literally turning the construction technique of tent fabricators on its side”), the Quasi console re-invents certain aspects of the wheel (or the “rhomb” as the case may be). If you can’t be certain of having heard this coinage before but it still seems to spark some suppressed synapse within, that’s probably because it has origins in “rhomboid,” the all-purpose shape of 10th grade Geometry that’s “an oblique-angled parallelogram with only the opposite sides equal.” After listening to Coffey talk about this basic building block of the Quasi pieces for some five minutes, I found myself convinced that 1. The computer-mediated technology that makes the Quasi console possible has a central place in the architecture of the future; 2. The craftsmen/architects/puzzle masters who assembled the piece have rectilinear DNA; and 3. No matter how exhaustive my description, the geometric logic of the magical “rhomb(s)” must be seen to be believed.
Described by Coffey as a “quasi-crystalline” structure, a complementary pair of entities that “fill space in a non-repeating way,” and an object that mimics “a transitional state in nature when a liquid becomes a solid,” the dual units (3000 + individual pieces) of solid walnut that form the fascinating and inscrutable assemblage that is the Quasi Console are just diamond-shaped pieces of wood that happen to fit together in a most unusual and intriguing way. But perhaps that description diminishes the extraordinary synergy between nature, technology, and craft that the piece exemplifies. “It’s not biomimesis,” says Lasch. “We’re not trying to extract some innate truth – these things aren’t more true because they’re more natural. They’re just patterns that are out there, and it’s our ethic to absorb them.” I’d submit that it’s also their ethic to make something extraordinary and unusual from them. The Quasi Console (which, by the way, retails for $45,000) achieves the impressive feat of affinity between “organic” and “technological,” between “natural” and obsessively constructed. And if from a certain perspective the piece resembles the torso of a leggy, shaggy, and inscrutably pixilated brown bear, that’s precisely the point.