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.