The title of the exhibition is a replica of the famous quote of Le Corbusier - “Machines for living in”. His vision about home embodies the rationalism of industrial society which is mainly our past. The post-industrial future; on the contrary, brings back the emotional element in architecture and design; of course, based on the technological achievements of the industrialism. Home and furnishing in this case can not be just machinery, they are objects with their individuality and contextuality, specific for every inhabitant and user. In this respect we think, with a certain sense of humor, that “puzzles” is a more adequate definition. Such structures are rational and constructivist on one hand and mystical on the other, combining the rational and emotional in one. They are also personal; for, the users must assemble them by themselves, being part of the creation process.
A good many brainteasers are put down as puzzles, starting with the purely abstract (mathematical, logical) and ending with the entirely material and spatial. What they all share is the hidden connection — sometimes outright mystical — between the pieces one starts with and the final solution. Mechanical puzzles, in which we see a huge utility potential, are an attempt at overcoming the limitations of the three-dimensional world. At first they seem impossible and difficult but later turn out to be founded on a simple principle and succumb to an astonishingly rapid assembling process. It is this type of spatial “knots” that prove inspirational for the people whose professions require practicality and realism — designers, architects, woodworkers. Unlike the task of the inventor of classical puzzles, theirs is perhaps the opposite: making the joint as simple and easy as possible without being obvious, preserving a portion of the mystery of orthodox puzzles. It is probably this mysteriousness that conveys life and warmth to these geometrical structures, making them suitable for the space of our home. The “puzzles for living” in this exhibition are two types: the put-together puzzles and the interlocking ones. The former type requires you to locate the correct place of each piece; the latter wants you to figure out the assembly method. In both, each piece matters — constructively, functionally and aesthetically.
The exhibition took place in Credo Bonum Gallery in Sofia from 12.12.2011 to 15.01.2012. It was the first product design exhibition in this art space; as a result, the way of presentation was meant to be not just the same as the one in a regular furniture showroom. The two types of puzzle principles were presented differently in the form of installation. In both cases the designs were exposed in their assembled and disassembled condition. The disassembled elements of the put-together chairs of Konstantin Achkov, where the type of joinery is relatively obvious, unlike the places of the parts, were put in a completely new context. They were arranged in a way representing totems and pagan masks making the relation between the initial parts and the final product even more mysterious. The initial elements of the “coordinate motion” and interlocking furniture of Petar Zaharinov were “flying” in the air in a configuration just ready for assembling and giving some hint and emphasizing the assembly principle and process.
The two different approaches also corresponded to the different professions of the authors. Petar Zaharinov is an architect, Konstantin Achkov is a sculptor.
Photography: Tihomir Rachev, Martin Filkov
The burr itself has different versions. Its parts can be chosen among a list of possible elements (fig.3). In the Puzzling's case, as it can be seen from the pictures (fig.5, 6, 7) provided by Lui, the first three element types in the list have been used. They are all symmetrical and easy enough to produce. The first type appears ones, the second type – three times, and the third type – two times. This combination gives a 6-piece burr with an invisible void inside, which can be seen from the assembly process shown in fig.4. In order this void to be avoided, a piece of number 18 can be used instead of one of the three number 2 elements. This change however will not have much impact on the stability and the assembly process, it will only make the production more complicated. The ends of the wooden sticks have been tapered and cut in a way that they meet the floor and the table top more rationally, giving also much more dramatic and expressive appearance of the table base.
The top is also a wooden puzzle itself. In this case it is a classical 3-piece coordinate-motion structure (fig.8), where one has to move all three main parts together in order to assemble the whole plane (fig. 9). This kind of assembly makes possible the flat packege style of the whole furniture (fig.10).
You can read more about PUZZLED TABLE here.
TRAVELING EXHIBITION FOR CHILDREN, ADAPTED FOR ADULTS
The goal of the exhibition is to make children and adults empathetic to the subject of archeology in general and also to the current challenges it faces. By recreating different activities it involves, in the form of games, children imperceptibly turn into seekers for ancient artifacts. Adults are provided with plenty of text and visual information that can satisfy even the most inquisitive of them.
The graphic materials, designed by poststudio, are separated into two “layers”: upper - for children, and lower – for adults, giving maximum ease in perception of the information. Pottery, in the form of magnetic puzzles, stratigraphic profile made of foam, a sandbox full of buried artifacts, drawing boards, animations and video are just parts of the “children's layer” , which often attracts older people too.
Our contribution to the project is the structure - “labyrinth”. It is an assemblable “puzzle” made of plywood, with no need of screws and gluing and reminds of a fortress, a lego style game, or a temporary wooden structure similar to ones used during expeditions. Only four types of elements (fig. 1) are enough to form the whole assembly without the need of any tools. Two or three people and a working day are completely enough to move the exhibition from one place to another. All furnishing, including the sandbox and the transparent boxes, are also assemblable structures that does not require any fixtures in order to be assembled.
It was first presented at Grand Mall, Varna – Bulgaria on 20.06.2011 and we were pleased that all children and adults enjoyed it a lot.
The exposition is appropriate for people of all ages and for most curious of them there is also an enigma inside!
Authors: Bogdan Atanasov, Vesela Gercheva – New Bulgarian University
Graphic design: Poststudio
Structure and furnishing: PRAKTRIK
Art concept: Violeta Halvadjieva
With the financial help of foundation “America For Bulgaria”
The burr itself consists of three identical elements (fig.3) and is a member of a special group of interlocking puzzles called COORDINATE MOTION PUZZLES. Coordinate motion because all elements must be moved simultaneously towards the center of the structure in order to be assembled. Once assembled, it is impossible to disassemble it by trying to move just one or two of its parts.
Ben Huggins has modified this 3-piece structure in a way that the shape of its parts become simpler by avoiding the 45 degree angles in fig.3. This modification let their contour become triangular and smooth with just one exception – the overhangs that block the round top in place. The top must be placed at special time during the assembly process – just before the assembly of the legs is complete (fig.4).
The abovementioned contour modification has probably inspired the pizza-style packaging of the product (fig.5).
You can read more about LITTLE STAR here.
The burr itself consists of three different elements having orthogonal notches shown in figure 1 taken from “Wonders In Wood” by Edwin M. Wyatt. As one can see from the diagram two of the elements are extremely weakened by their notches and their halves are connected with just 1/4 of the whole width which is two times as big as the thickness. In the JOIN case this connection has been strengthened by changing this proportion to 1/3 by making the width three times as big as the thickness which is crucial especially when using the cutlery elements separately.
A very similar 3-piece interlocking structure THREE-PIECE CROSS (figures 2 and 3) published in a different book by Edwin M. Wyatt called “Puzzles In Wood” could also be used for the same purpose but in this case the two halves of element “C” are connected with less then 1/3 of the total width which makes it not as reliable as the Konstantin's version of the Double Cross.
You can read more about JOIN here.
The burr itself has two modifications shown in figures 1 and 2 taken from "Geometric Puzzle Design" by Stewart Coffin, 2007.
The first one (fig. 1) requires more spatial vision in order to be assembled and the elements must be placed one after another finishing with the “key” element having no notches.The second modification (fig. 2) involves more dexterity for the elements must be grouped in two mirror image halves and then mated.
As one can see from the video made by the designers the Mesa Asterisco represents the symmetrical modification shown in fig. 2. Nevertheless, its parts are not completely identical because of the cuts at the ends mating the floor and the glass top and enhancing the stability.
You can find more information about it here
We thank all friends and colleagues who attended the official opening of PRAKTRIK on 26.10.2010 and CHAYKA for the hospitality.
The event was filled with amusement. We presented our puzzle furniture collections in a way that everyone was able to asselmble the table he / she likes. Although some of the tables are real gymnastics for the mind, everybody coped with the assembly. We have listened to music, chat, and had a drink on successful launch.
PRAKTRIK ASSEMBLE BY YOURSELF19.11.2010, Delyan Spasov
Welcome to the official opening of PRAKTRIK!...
On Friday 26.10.2010 at 20:00 o'clock in the shop of Chaika we are going to present our puzzle furniture and treat on the successful launch. Everyone will be able to try to assemble one of the puzzle tables, some of them are real gymnastics for the mind.
We will be happy to see you!