Interview for Terrys Fabrics
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
Come to play with our mind-joggling pieces at - Hall 3.1 Stand: C031g
IMM Cologne is one of the most important furniture exhibitions in the world. It combines many furniture manufacturers, suppliers and decision-makers from the field and can claim to be the trendsetter in the industry.
This year, a special focus will be put on the innovative concept of puzzle furniture, presented by yours truly – PRAKTRIK. We are grateful to Viza Living, the design and manufacturing company with a track-record of excellence and our partners in assuring the high quality of all PRAKTRIK pieces. Our cooperation has led to the unique opportunity to showcase our furniture at IMM Cologne and show the world why puzzle furniture is a trend to stay. In many renowned design magazines one could see more and more of the puzzle concept being put on focus, in most cases side-by-side with PRAKTRIK furniture, as the only company that manufactures whole collections of such furniture, giving a wide choice for complete interior design solutions.
And here is what makesinterlocking puzzles very special structures and such an interesting trend to follow. They combine mysticism, structural rationalism, and interactivity in one. They embody the perfect composition where either adding or subtracting elements can destroy it. Designers of such brainteasers are like magicians, they show us how material objects that look impossible can become a reality. Magic of course is not required, only a bit of simple trickery. Tricks, that we believe can also power everyday lives for practical purposes.
Although not so widely known to the mass market, these types of furniture have piqued the interest of trend-setters and designers worldwide as their multiply assembly combinations and unique customisations allow for the imagination to run wild with possibilities. We strongly believe in the growth of the segment, as proven by our early adopters, clients and the wide media coverage PRAKTRIK has enjoyed in recent years.
But what is a great design without quality execution? This is one of the keys to our success – Viza Living. Their speciality is solid wood furniture combinations, as well as veneered boards. Their professional team ensure the excellence behind each PRAKTRIK structure. It is because of this strong partnership that our pieces have continue to be sold worldwide to many happy customers!
If you are thinking of visiting the furniture fair in Cologne, the PRAKTRIK / VIZA LIVING stand is a must-stop location in your tour. Come for a chat, get to know the rising worldwide trend of puzzle furniture hands-on and challenge your skills with our mind-joggling pieces! See you there!
Hall 3.1 Stand: C031g
A combination of game and style
Specially for our client at Etsy.com we have made a beautiful custom table from our Special Collection. 1x2d+1D dining table is both - a piece of design furniture and a brain teaser. For the Special Collection we use a different type of wood for every type of element. The inspiration for this comes from the classic interlocking burr puzzles. The contrasting colors of the different woods are emphasizing the aesthetics of its structure. The 1x2+1D Special consists of two maple elements and one made of walnut.
Usually our tables come with a glass top. But our client asked if we can make it with wooden top. We try this for the first time, but we are very happy with the result. We made the wooden top of beech plywood veneered with maple. After double polishing with water based polish and fine sanding the table top received a smooth and matt surface.
You can find our Special Collection only at Etsy. And now on very low prices even compared to our standard products. You’d like something even more special? Just drop us a line and we will do our best to produce the custom furniture piece that suits best to your personality.
Go ahead find us at Etsy - Etsy.com/shop/PRAKTRIK
Play furniture with us!
This collection is a special edition of our flat pack coffee tables from Sliding and Impossible collections.
The collection of wooden furniture brain teasers is inspired by the common approach of making the different types of elements using different types of wood often used by burr puzzle makers. It is very appropriate especially when there are different elements that look the same in assembled position. This stylistics emphasizes the tectonics of the structure, unveiling a little bit of the hidden assembly principle of the brain teaser. This sensation is even stronger when using very contrast types of wood textures, from almost white to almost black, together with more colorful types.
This principle is applicable for most of our designs from Sliding and Impossible collections. Only 1x3 and 1x6 are not appropriate because they are composed of only one type of element. Some of the puzzle tables, like 2x3 and 4x3, have several different set ups, giving more permutations; hence more variability.
You can find the collection on etsy.com
A communist studio apartment refurbishment by PRAKTRIK
The goal of the refurbishment was to turn the apartment into a place appropriate for young people, providing enough flexibility at an affordable price.
We are using the project video for our first crowdfunding campaign at indiegogo.com
You can read more about the project here: http://www.praktrik.com/tetriks
Music: Biplane by Podington Bear
Staring: Petar Zaharinov
Director: Simeon Tsonchev
Production: Mono Collective http://monoco.eu
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!