Strata | A sculptural wooden surface puzzle

Strata is a sculptural puzzle designed to engage our sense of touch as well as sight. The puzzle is made of formaldehyde-free birch plywood. Sculpting through its layers reveals a striking topographical map, providing an added dimension of intrigue and strategy. Form and contour lines flow across wooden blocks, creating a deceptively challenging puzzle while remaining intuitive to visual and tactile learners alike.



Strata represents the marriage of digital fabrications, material research and craftsmanship. The 3-dimensional flowing surfaces are digitally modeled then milled from a dense, virtually void-free plywood which remains intact and stable enough to maintain fine curvatures. The milled surfaces are then cut into a grid and sanded by hand. The result is a repeatable form with a unique surface, stressing craftsmanship along every step of the design and fabrication process.


The flowing surface is digitally modeled using Rhinoceros 3D Modeling. The 3D models are then imported into Autodesk Fusion 360 for creating CNC cut files. The CNC Router used for the development of Strata was the Axiom Autoroute 8 Pro.






Strata has been adored by everyone who engaged with the prototypes. Participants found the puzzle to be engaging, challenging and fell in love with its beauty (due to the high degree of hand-craftsmanship). In particular, users were more engaged when participating with company.when working as a team.

Available in nine different designs, the Strata puzzle is currently only offered through Kickstarter.com. Three of these designs are exclusive to the Kickstarter campaign, and will not be available afterwards. The Kickstarter exclusive designs were developed from hand drawn height-field images that were developed into sculptural surfaces.

Valentin Pelayo

Architect, based in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Interested in furniture design and digital fabrication.