At first glance, Gloria Cortina’s Golden U table seems to be an exercise in the elegant restraint of form, fine detail, craftsmanship, and its two materials – bronze and golden obsidian, the rarest of all obsidians. But there is a great deal more to this design than its clarity and beautifully finished surfaces.
Two famous quotes spring to mind. In the 1st century BC, the Roman engineer and author, Vitruvius said buildings should possess firmitas, utilitas, venustas – in other words, be strong, useful, and delightful. The Golden U certainly meets those classical ideals. However, something said by the great American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, has a much more resonant connection with the Golden U. "Form and function," he said, "should be as one, joined in a spiritual union."
The Golden U’s frame is simple and refined, but the table top is a frame, or altar, that carries an abstract image of the universe. The surface is composed of finely cut golden obsidian tiles, arranged so that their individual patterns of tiny glittering reflections resemble galaxies swirling in a closed arabesque, not unlike the Aztec serpent, a magical symbol of rebirth.
"The obsidian pieces in the table top start as a concentric layout," explains Gloria. "The pattern rolls into itself, and then rolls out again in the other direction, and this creates a shift of scales, and a shift in imagination. When you look closely at the golden obsidian ingots, their surfaces have countless pinpoints of light, which are like clouds of stars. And the overall pattern they make is like the union of two galaxies."
Golden Obsidian & Bronze