Solve a Puzzle to Turn Each Page in This Amazing Wooden Book

wooden puzzle book

Skyscrapers can be made of wood, gadgets can be made of wood, wood can be made as transparent as glass – seriously, what can’t wood do? The latest cool and unexpected wooden design is so intriguing, it has already raised over five times its goal on Kickstarter with twenty days remaining on its fundraising campaign. ‘Codex Silenda’ is a five-page book made of wood, each page featuring an intricate puzzle. To turn the page, you have to figure out how to unlock the corresponding bolts.

wooden puzzle book 2

“As the puzzler moves through the book, a story begins to unfold, depicting the story of an apprentice in Da Vinci’s Workshop who encounters the same Codex. However in the story the Codex acts as a trap set by Da Vinci to capture any would be spies/snoopy apprentices in order to protect his work. The only way to escape is to solve each of the puzzles before the master returns from his trip.”

puzzle puzzle 2

The puzzles look pretty incredible, full of rotating parts and wheel mechanisms, and every single piece is made of laser-cut, hand-assembled wood. Laser cutting technology is what allows these complex parts to be made quickly, precisely and consistently enough to be produced on a large scale. So what inspired the Codex?

“The problem with puzzles today is they are either simple and cheap or handcrafted and supremely expensive,” say the creators, Brady Whitney and Hanna Humphrey, on the Kickstarter page. “Yet once you’ve solved either type of puzzle, you know the solution and have no desire to ever play with the puzzle again. The Codex addresses this issue of deployability by offering five puzzles in one, an intriguing story that ties everything together and a hidden storage compartment. On top of that, the beautiful design makes it perfect for putting on display in your home!”

puzzle 3 wooden puzzle book 3

The fact that this puzzle book is made of wood is what truly makes it a collector’s item. It’s beautiful, durable, and there are no high-tech parts to fizzle out or go obsolete all too quickly. The pre-sales offered to Kickstarter backers have sold out, but perhaps this imaginative project will inspire more people to create such cool wooden curiosities. Learn more about how the puzzles work here.

Wooden Wonders: You’ve Never Seen a Staircase Quite Like This

wood staircase 2

This shockingly beautiful staircase stands as a sculptural centerpiece within the Atrium office tower in Tel Aviv, Israel, with spiraling steps leading up to a tornado-shaped deck. Designed by architect Oded Halaf and built by Tomer Gelfand, the structure is not just a work of art in its unusual shape, it’s an example of how high-tech design and traditional woodworking can come together for modern usage.

wood staircase 3

29,527 feet of raw poplar were cut using a CNC machine to form a series of arches, which were assembled on-site into the final shape. Navigating it isn’t meant to be as simple as taking a functional set of stairs to get from one level of a building to the next; it’s an experience in itself, taking in the whole structure from a new angle with every step.

wood staircase 5

The firm Tomer Gelfland uses advanced design and simulation software to create digital models that calculate exactly how much wood is needed, and the precise angles at which it will need to be cut and assembled. This information is fed to the CNC machine to make the cuts, but the wood is finished by hand. You can view the construction and assembly process at the firm’s website. 

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 3.56.25 PM Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 3.54.35 PM

This gorgeous project is just a peek into the future of wood as a sustainable, durable and incredibly versatile material that will be increasingly utilized in ultramodern settings.

Modernist Wooden Grotto Immerses You in 390 Million Years of Trees

modernist grotto 1

The entire history of trees on earth, from the very first species that emerged 390 million years ago to species only recently discovered, comes together in a single sculptural installation on the grounds of a garden in the UK. ‘Hollow’ by artist Katie Paterson and architects Zeller & Moye is a meditation space made of lumber sourced and gathered from around the globe, immersing visitors in a miniature forest of spectacular diversity.

modernist grotto 2 modernist grotto 6 modernist grotto 8

Set into the grass at the Historic Royal Fort Gardens in Bristol, ‘Hollow’ is a beautiful and evocative tribute to the history and importance of trees, each individual piece telling a story. The 10,000 wooden components range from tiny little cubes of rare samples to beams that run nearly the entire height of the installation, glued together in a seemingly random arrangement to create a sort of cavern. Look up from the inside and you’ll see the sky through a series of apertures, designed to mimic the way sunlight filters through the branches in a forest canopy.

modernist grotto 7 modernist grotto 5 modernist grotto 3

“Some samples are incredibly rare – fossils of unfathomable age, and fantastical trees such as cedar of Lebanon, the Phoenix palm, and the Methuselah Tree thought to be one of the oldest trees in the world at 4,847 years of age,” says Paterson. “Also, a railroad tie taken from the Panama Canal Railway, which claimed the lives of between 5,000 to 10,000 workers over its 50 year construction, and wood salvaged from the remnants of the iconic Atlantic City Boardwalk devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.”

Twisted Wood Sculptures Celebrate the Personality of Pine

pine sculptures 1

Simultaneously strong and easy to carve, pine offers some of the most versatile characteristics in the world of wood, and this series of incredible sculptures puts that fact to a visual test. Brussels-based artist Xavier Puente Vilardell uses mostly manual tools to manipulate pine trunks into surreal sculptures highlighting the pliability of the material, almost as if you could twist it into a new shape with your bare hands.

pine sculptures 2

pine sculptures 4

Vilardell allows the natural contours of the wood to provide inspiration, guiding him in how each trunk should be cut and shaped. Spirals and corkscrews follow the pattern of tree ring growth, knots become highlights and smaller branches turn into protrusions of various shapes.

pine sculptures 5

pine sculptures 6

The artist seems to take particular pleasure in the visceral aspects of carving with pine, enjoying its “strong and penetrating odor that takes root in the land.”

pine sculpture 6

“Working with wood requires a deep respect for the living, it must understand its inner nature and characteristics that give a certain personality.” Villardell likens the process to a writer creating a character with their own life, flaws and virtues, experiences, nuances and peculiarities.

This Wooden Structure Has a Lower Carbon Footprint Than an iPhone 6

wooden structure 2

How can an architectural wooden structure that towers above the average person have a smaller carbon footprint than a gadget that fits into the palm of your hand? It’s all in the materials. An installation entitled ‘The Invisible Store of Happiness’ by designer Sebastian Cox and sculptor Laura Ellen Bacon stands as an example of the sustainability of wood, as well as its beauty and versatility, with ribbon-like sections of wood bent to create an intricate design within the structure’s core.

wooden structure 1

Standing beneath the 16th century arch of St. John’s Gate in London, the structure is made of steam-bent and twisted lengths of wood. Cox, who specializes in designing and building wooden furniture using traditional techniques, and Bacon, known for large site-specific sculptures made of woven and knotted wood, brought their complementary skills together to build a single structure. They got the idea after researching how much carbon is expended in the manufacture of Apple’s iPhone 6.

wooden structure 3

“We set ourselves the challenge of making the whole piece for less carbon than an iPhone 6,” Cox told Dezeen. “Every element in the making process was considered in the context of how it would affect the end figure of 100 kilograms of CO2.”

wooden structure 4

The structure ended up standing 9.2 feet tall, and acts as a metaphorical store of carbon, who recorded every kilogram of CO2 that was expended on the project during its manufacture and transport. Concentric layers of cherry and maple wood are set within the frame, attached by 380 clueless mortise and tenon joints. Each piece of wood was soaked in water overnight and then steamed at a very high temperature to make it pliable before being bent around formers and clamped in place as it cooled.


It’s a beautiful testament to the sustainability of wood, not to mention the lasting beauty and quality of time-honored wood joinery techniques.


Livable Furniture: Wood Frame Houses Built into Chair Bases

ted lott 5

Fine furniture craftsmanship, stick frame construction and out-of-the-box recycling come together in cool sculptural creations by woodworker and artist Ted Lott. Old chairs, reduced to the bare bones of their frames, become the unlikely foundations for miniature houses, the pieces all fitting together with incredible precision.

tedd lott wood house 2

ted lott wood chair sculpture 1

Look closely at the flat fronts of these miniatures and you’ll find all of the architectural details you’d expect to find on a full-scale version of the same homes: gables, balustrades, balconies and rough openings for windows and doors. But the back sides, adapted to fit the shapes of the chairs, feature unexpected curves and angles.

ted lott 6

The chairs are reclaimed antiques, and Lott crafts the little houses in pine. The concept for the series was inspired by the material of wood itself, putting its most common usage in a new light.

Ted Lott Master of FIne Art Exhibition

“When viewing woodworking in the context of objects made with wood; housing, particularly stick frame construction, emerges as possibly the most widespread use of the material throughout the modern world,” says the artist.