Huelle Design Concepts

Dimensional Study

The goal of this study was to determine if preferred dimensions following a Fibonacci sequence lead to an overall pleasing aesthetic. The block system was prototyped in painted plywood, creating unadorned blocks for the base, body, spacers, and cap. A simple peg system was employed to interconnect blocks in different configurations. This allowed rapidly prototyping various overall forms- the highest level of a design hierarchy.

Dimensional study1.png

Preferred Dimensions

Guided by Alexander’s half inch trim pattern and the Golden Ratio pattern, a base unit of 0.25″ was selected (1U), leading to preferred dimensions:

  • 1U = 0.25″
  • 2U = 0.50″
  • 3U = 0.75″
  • 5U = 1.25″
  • 8U = 2.00″
  • 13U = 3.25″
  • 21U = 5.25″
  • 34U = 8.50″

Prototype Components

Since one of the goals of Hülle is to house Arduino-based designs, the 21U (5.25″) dimension is well suited for enclosing projects. Body blocks were created from a hollow square plywood tube with outside dimensions of 5.25″ length by 5.25″ width with a 0.75″ wall thickness. This leaves an interior opening of  3.75″ square. Heights of 2.00″, 3.25″, 5.25″, and 8.50″ were selected to form the set of body blocks.

In addition to the body blocks, spacers were created that could go between blocks to implement the Insulator pattern. Spacer were prototyped from 0.75″ plywood to provide a 1.25″ overhang around the 5.25″ square tube. Spacers have a cutout to allow frame elements to continue extending through the block stack.

A cap block was made from a spacer without a cutout.

The base block was dimensioned as a 2.00″ thick spacer.

All visible dimensions follow the preferred dimensions from the Fibonacci sequence starting with 0.25″. Also note that the prototype components fill the maximum envelope dimensions. For example, a base block might use cutouts to form feet and allow cords to exit. Similarly, body blocks will typically contain carved or molded features contained within the maximum envelope.

A peg system using 0.25″ dowel pegs and 0.375″ mating holes was used to interlock the stack in the prototype, as shown below.

Study peg-system.jpg

Simple Sketchup models (sans pegs) for above component blocks can be found in the project file archive for studies.

Notation for Combinations of Blocks

It may prove helpful to have a shorthand notation to describe a combination of blocks. As an initial proposal:

  • Assume a base block is always used, so it doesn’t need annotating
  • Body blocks are denoted  by a ‘B’ followed by their height in base units. For example B21 is a 5.25″ height body block
  • Spacer blocks are denoted by ‘S’
  • Cap blocks are denoted by ‘C’
  • The stack configuration starts from the base and goes up, separating components by a dash.

For example, B34-S-B8-S-B8-C describes a stack starting with a 8.50″ body block and ending with a cap block (see below).

This notation is expected to be extended as the project evolves.


The figure below shows a B34-S-B8-S-B8-C stack, along with an iPhone for scale. Overall, this build system seems quite workable for lighting and other projects. Dimensionally, the scale feels right for these type of projects and the resulting designs should fit well in living spaces.

Study b34-s-b8-s-b8-c.jpg

Various stack combinations are shown below, illustrating the range of composition:

Study b8-s-b8-s-b34-c.jpg
Study b8-s-b13-s-b21-c.jpg
Study b8-s-b13-c.jpg
Study b8-c.jpg

Study b21-c.jpg
Study b21-s-b13-c.jpg
Study b21-s-b8-s-b8-c.jpg
Study b21-s-b13-s-b8-c.jpg
Study b21-s-b34-c.jpg
Study b21-s-b21-s-b13-c.jpg
Study b21-b34-c.jpg
Study b21-b34-s-b21-c.jpg
Study b21-b34-b21-c.jpg
Study b21-s-b34-s-b21-s-b8-s-b8-c.jpg

Next Steps

Design considerations:

  1. How is the stack locked together?
  2. The top and bottom of blocks needs a lip or chamfer to prevent light leakage from between blocks.
  3. Related to the above, improve the peg system if thinner walls are considered.


  1. Try molding some blocks to see what issues arise.