Almost Genius: Furniture Assembly So Complicated, It Becomes A Brainteaser

Here’s the real head-scratcher: That’s supposed to be a good thing!


Assembling furniture is a bitch. Nobody likes it, not even the self-flagellators who shop at Ikea (and who, we swear, only put up with the place because of the cheap hot dogs). So we’re a bit mystified to learn about a furniture line that’s designed explicitly–cruelly–to boggle your mind.


Praktrik, a Bulgarian company, happily likens its Coordinate collection of wooden benches, tables, chairs, and other furnishings to burr puzzles. You know, those block-shaped brainteasers that seem to exist solely to entertain IBM geeks and masochists. Each item comes as a kit of parts, and it’s your job to figure out how to arrange the pieces. But you have to do it in a particular order, using special movements, otherwise that dining table you blew $250 on will never morph into anything more than a pile of unusually shiny firewood. Here’s how you’d put it together, according Praktrik’s website:

[I]ts legs must be moved together towards the center as a coordinate-motion (slide-together) structure. The top must be placed at a special time during assembly – just before it is finished when the four elements that hold it are close enough to each other.


We’re supposed to be reassured that assembly does not require any tools. As plusMOOD reports, all you need is “a little bit of imagination and dexterity. This involves certain interactivity and stimulates some intelligence from the user.” Imagination, dexterity, interactivity, and intelligence: all important skills. For a neurosurgeon. For people trying to build a table on a sunny Saturday afternoon–a day they could spend reading to their children! Feeding the homeless! Ministering to sick grannies everywhere!–furniture that requires predictability, ham-handedness, detachment, and unbridled idiocy is perhaps a better sell.

Maybe we’re being too harsh. Maybe the furniture is entirely self-explanatory and actually fun to throw together. According to the website, Praktrik’s designers took care to make solutions “as simple as possible and easy to assemble.” Guess we have to believe them. But just to be safe, they should probably throw in a free hot dog or something.

[Hat tip to plusMOOD]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D