πano is a really interesting design by Jean Claude Constantin. It’s not a perfect representation of a piano, because of the arrangement of the keyboard keys, but nevertheless it can be instantly recognized as such. The name makes a play on words with the mathematical constant π, but I’m not entirely sure the solution has anything to do with it. It’s still a nice design touch, though.
πano is comprised of 17 pieces (not to be confused wit the representation of 32 keyboard keys), each grouping two or more keys at a time in a single piece. The pieces can be divided in two types, the white keys and the black keys – No piece consists of a mixture of both.
Design-wise, and besides the not so perfect representation of a piano, the puzzle is very well done. The colors used make a distinct contrast between the two types of pieces, which are laser-cut. The photo is a little deceiving, because the puzzle is a little shorter than I was expecting, measuring 26.1cm x 6.2cm (10.3″ x 2.4″). It’s still a nice puzzle, but I would’ve preferred a slightly larger one.
The puzzle comes unsolved and no solution is provided, not in the package nor on the website. To solve it, you have to remove all the pieces from the tray and rearrange them so all pieces stay within the boarders of the piano’s frame. You can use both sides of the black pieces, however, the white pieces are only marked on one side, so you can only use them that way.
The puzzle is rated as a level 9/10, but after solving it within 10 minutes, in no way I find it that difficult – It’s a 7, at the most. Don’t try to make sense of the arrangement of the pieces compared with a real piano, because you’ll fail miserably. The only think you need to worry about is to make sure the white pieces are placed in such a way they always create an empty space large enough for the black pieces. From there, you just need to make slight adjustments as you try different combinations. I don’t know how many different solutions are there, but judging from one comment on the store’s website, at least three different configurations are possible. Can you find one?
Constantin’s πano is a real treat for music lovers. I used to play the piano when I was younger, and when I saw this, many great memories came flooding back. It’s a great puzzle for any collection, especially if you’re fond of keyboard instruments.