Designer Insights with Petar Zaharinov

Petar Zaharinov is the Designer and co-founder of Praktrik, a Bulgarian design studio based on the practicality of design, as well as novel design elements. Petar designs furniture using burr puzzles as inspiration for his work, hence why his furniture looks so intriguing and mystical. They are designed to stimulate people intellectually, generally designed using interlocking wooden pieces. Petar is constantly adapting his designs and developing new puzzle structures. So we are happy to bring you the Designer Insights of Petar Zaharinov.   1) In your own words describe your unique style and creative aesthetic?   I am focused on designs that look impossible but after applying some little trick they become possible. I also search for solutions where structure, function, and aesthetics are all one.   2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?    I first invent an abstract principle and visualize it with a symmetrical scale model, than I search for possible applications. It is actually upside-down the typical design process. 3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?   People that do things with Causa, not only for profit. People that go out of their comfort zone and explore new territories and are ready to pay the price for it. They can be found in many different fields: politics, entrepreneurship, art, science etc. If I have to give examples: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, Nikola Tesla, Theo Jansen, and many others of course. 4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?   I usually look for inspiration outside the design field: mathematics, puzzles, geometry etc. Trekking, camping, slacklining, such activities charge me with new energy and help me see life from different angle. 5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?   What made me switch from architecture to product design were intuition and seek for freedom. The design field offers much more space for application of principles from other areas. Here I can be an entrepreneur, not just a head of studio. My advice is not to be afraid of making mistakes. Courtesy of: Terrys Fabrics
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A communist era studio apartment refurbishment by PRAKTRIK   The flat is located in a typical large-panel system building in Sofia. It consists of one multifunctional room, that operates as a living room and a bedroom at the same time, a kitchen, a bathroom, a corridor, and a large balcony divided into glazed and unglazed parts. This kind of buildings are very restrictive in terms of rearrangements because all walls are made of reinforced concrete and most of them are load-bearing; moreover, the budget did not allow replacement of the interior doors.   The goal of the refurbishment was to turn the apartment into a place appropriate for young people, providing enough flexibility at an affordable price. The decision was to turn all of the immovable “heritage” - walls, ceilings, floors, and doors, together with the appliances, into a passive achromatic background, emphasizing the flexible assemblable wooden furniture and lighting. The flexibility is enhanced by the possibility of combining the modules from the different rooms, turning the whole flat into a tricky human-scale tetris game, inspiring the name of the project which is a combination of “tetris” and “tricks”.   The biggest challenge was the main room which is supposed to accommodate many different functions – not only connected to working and sleeping but also to different social activities – from having dinner with friends to drinking tea and playing board games in more relaxed atmosphere. This requirement necessitated the adaptation of the bed to functions different from sleeping. It is the biggest furniture in the room and using it only as a bed would not leave space for placing sofas and low tables for example. The solution was to make it modular using five benches – three standard VBT and two standard VIB with backrests at the ends. The parquet flooring is not slippery providing enough friction and keeping the five modules together. The upholstery was designed in a way allowing transformations – from mattress to cushions. The rest of the furniture in the room follows the same dual-use concept, providing a lot of functional combinatorics.   The kitchen has a classic furniture arrangement typical for this kind of apartments, nevertheless the worktops are also assemblable and independent from the appliances, giving the possibility of rearrangements. The cabinets are also modular and equal to the ones in the corridor, bringing even more flexibility. They look decorative but their shape is actually very constructional and tectonic, providing a huge number of possible arrangements and assemblies. Their mobility is facilitated by the battens on which they are hung, eliminating the necessity of fastening them directly to the walls.   Designer: Petar Zaharinov     VIDEO: Music: Biplane by Podington Bear  Staring: Peter Zaharinov Director: Simeon Tsonchev Production: Mono Collective
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PRAKTRIK is a studio and brand focused on “practical” “tricks”.   All products are inspired by burr puzzles. We see great potential for facilitating their principles for utilitarian purposes. Their production requires no hi-tech, they can be made of natural, ecological, and healthy (harmless) materials, they are assemblable and disassemblable, they can also be fun.   Such puzzle structures are geometrical and constructivist on one hand and mystical on the other. This mystery brings some emotional quality to such designs that we consider very important nowadays. They also stimulate and require some intelligence from the user which is also very important to us.   Most of such known puzzle examples are too complicated and their parts are difficult to manufacture; as a result, new ones had to be found. During the geometrical analysis it became clear that this task was just the opposite of the one of a classical puzzle maker because the new solutions had to be as simple as possible and easy to assemble. Generally, three interlocking principles have been used: The first one is represented by structures (4x6, 5x4, 6x3 ...) that are theoretically “impossible” to be assembled at least in our tri-dimensional world. They can become reality only by leaving enough distance between the faces of the element notches and applying some pressure during assembly. These burr structures are interlocked in all directions and are independent of their orientation in space and gravity.   The second one is represented by structures (1x3, 1x2+1, 1x6, 2x3, 4x3... ) that can be put together by sliding motions. It can be sliding of the wooden pieces one after another (1x3, 1x2+1), half of them after the other half (1x6, 2x3, 4x3 ), or all of the elements together (1x3, 1x2+1, 1x6, 2x3, 4x3... ) as a coordinate-motion (slide-together) structure. Such mechanical puzzles are locked only in some directions and most of them depend on gravity in order their parts to stay together.   The third principle is represented by structures (VST, VIIC, XIIL, IXT1, VIMB....) that can be put together by moving all parts simultaneously. Such puzzles are named “coordinate motion” or “slide together”. Once assembled, the whole structure stays stable even one tries to move one or several of its parts. The stability in this case does not depend much on orientation and gravity. The name of a particular piece of furniture comes from the logic of its structure. For the “impossible” and “sliding” pieces it consists of the number of different element types multiplied by the number of elements of each type. The whole mathematical expression gives the total number of wooden parts. For “coordinate” collection the name consists of the total number of elements represented by Roman digits followed by letters representing the function - “S” for stool, “T” for table etc. Some of the principles we found appeared to be part or a step of more complicated puzzle structures (1x3, 1x2+1) and other appeared to be already known to other inventors (1x6) - Rinus Roelofs and his 6 piece slide structure (mortise-and-tenon joint). There are still numerous practical burrs waiting to be discovered and some of the wooden “knots” presented here to be used in other fields different from furniture design.   We are happy to work with VizaLiving, a factury that has more than 20 years of experience in producing high quality furniture. VIZAliving   Praktrik Ltd     Facebook Google+ Twitter YouTube
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+359 879 436299

FAX: +359 2 868 7550







Praktrik Ltd

Dianabad, bl. 11, entr. 3, ap. 54

Sofia, 1172


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