Merging two of the ultimate pastimes—books and puzzles—the Codex Silenda has to be physically solved in order to read it. And no, these aren’t simple word games and math problems, but rather deviously complicated mechanical puzzles crafted from laser-cut wood that are embedded within each part of this 5-page book. The solution to each puzzle physically unlocks the next page. As the reader moves through the book a short story is also revealed, etched on pages opposite the puzzles.
The Codex Silenda was created by industrial designer Brady Whitney who is currently funding the it as project on Kickstarter. At the moment it looks like all funding tiers involving the book have filled, quadrupling their funding goals, but maybe they’ll add additional levels soon. (via Gizmodo)
Harnessing the beauty of foraged firewood found in California’s forests without setting flame to the wood, LA-based designer Paul Foeckler produces lamps made from gathering trips for his appropriately named online shop Split Grain (previously). Utilizing precise slices, Foeckler transforms the cuts of wood into minimalist light sources, having each emit an inner glow from the wood’s form. The modern objects are either standalone or placed on an equally minimal base, allowing one to bring the beautiful shape and grain of the California woods indoors without sacrificing it to a fireplace. You can see more of Foeckler’s lighting designs in his Etsy shop or website. (via My Modern Met)
Oakland-based artist Gabriel Schama (previously) continues to produce intricate relief sculptures by layering pieces of laser-cut mahogany plywood. Some of his most impressive new works see mandala-like shapes contained within the silhouettes of people’s faces, a striking idea that imbues each portrait with an unusual sense of motion and personality. Other pieces seem to utilize religious iconography or patterns from nature like reptile scales or leaves. Schama is soon to release a new collection of work for sale and you can learn more via his website.
We’ve long marveled at artist Maskull Lasserre's masterful ability to carve anatomical details into everyday objects. One of his recent sculptures, titled Improbable Worlds, is no exception. For this piece the Canadian artist split an old upright piano in two, slicing through every last component leaving only a single point of connection: a tiny wishbone carved from the wooden piano back. The visual tension created by the piece is astounding, let alone the head-scratching question of how he technically accomplished it, knowing that if the weight of the piano shifted just slightly the piece would snap in half.
You can see more of Lasserre’s recent artworks in his portfolio.
Working with tiny pieces of wood, wood sculptor Seiji Kawasaki carves realistic foods that look almost good enough to eat—depending on your taste. From chocolate bars that emerge from jagged pieces of wood to peppers and dried minnows that double as chopstick holders, the artist can create any edible item from a block of wood in just a few hours. Kawasaki has exhibited work in a number of galleries around Japan, and you can see more of his work in this Facebook gallery. If you liked this, also check out the work of Randall Rosenthal. (via My Modern Met, Booooooom.
Sometimes it seems long gone are the days of kids sitting down and playing with simple wooden toys, trading tactile objects for screens and buttons. Freelance illustrator and 3D artist artist Mat Szulik straddles the two worlds of digital and physical in this fantastic series of conceptual wood toys based on digital polygons. Titled PolyWood v1.0, the series of 8 creatures are all digital, using wood textures mapped to Szulik’s geometric illustrations. I can’t imagine how something like this could be produced or carved from actual wood, but they’re lovely to look at regardless. (via Behance)