In its simplest version, QuaDror looks like a child's wooden puzzle. Dror Benshetrit aligns four L-shaped blocks, and effortlessly shifts them from a few flat planes into an elegant structure. It looks so natural that it's hard to imagine that it's not already familiar. Benshetrit's new universal joint, which was just unveiled at South Africa's Design Indaba, is poised to offer a tremendous range of structural alternatives at just about every level. "I'm passionate about things that transform," says Benshetrit.
Dror Benshetrit didn't set out to reinvent the wheel—er, joint—when considering aesthetic solutions for interlocking corners. "I really wanted it to look super balanced and equal," he says. "It was just laying out a little experimentation in 'What if.' What if they have this strange cut and they sat next to each other."
It's been four years since the idea for QuaDror surfaced. "Every single day I came to the office writing a few more applications," says Benshetrit. "It can support a roof, a table, a bridge. The list just didn't stop."
Impoverished townships line the highway between Cape Town's airport and the sleek convention center where Benshetrit first presented QuaDror. "If you're looking at the third world, and after a disaster in particular, one of the things available are materials. Improvisation exists the most in these places. If you can give them instruments versus a defined product, a tool, they have a better chance to use it in an innovative way."QuaDror’s collapsibility lends itself to economical transportation. He says that 1750 housing relief kits can fit in a shipping container, and rounded out with local materials on arrival. "I never intended to come up with disaster relief," says Benshetrit. "It wasn't the goal. It just kind of happens that it lends itself to that."
Part of QuaDror's appeal is its ability to divide indoor and outdoor spaces. It claims the solidity of a solid cube at just 20% of the volume. The other volume, noise, is managed by its acoustic properties.
"A lot of people say less is more," says QuaDror inventor Dror Benshetrit. "I completely disagree. Less is less, more is more. Sometimes less is better, but it's not more."
Benshetrit doesn't have training in structural engineering, but says he followed his intuition, and what he calls a childish approach to creation. "It's putting a question mark, twisting something upside down, not being satisfied with your knowledge, and really kind of going as wild as possible."
Benshetrit didn't set out to reinvent the wheel—er, joint—when considering aesthetic solutions for interlocking corners. "I really wanted it to look super balanced and equal," he says. "It was just laying out a little experimentation: 'What if.' What if they have this strange cut and they sat next to each other. I started moving parts." After a soft demo, he made a wooden version in his studio to see what would happen when constructed out of more robust materials. "I fell in love with how they intersected. I just opened and closed, opened and closed, opened and closed." Take a closer look at Benshetrit's joint and its applications in the following video: