Art / Fine art and design / iran

Creative ‘Takhteh’, Backgammon Design

BuMqcKQIUAANn4h.png_largeBritish designer Alexandra Llewellyn has played backgammon since growing up as a child in Cairo.

Since 2010 she’s created these stylish, cool and modern designs for boards of the oldest recorded game in the world (5000 years).

For many, adapting the board this way will seem almost sacrilegious and it’s a game about which the discussion can often become problematic; was it the Greeks the Persians who invented it? What are the originals rules? Takhteh, as it’s called in Iran, is a game that has been played by generations all over the world and as such has become a social hub and catalyst for many communities; there are several yearly backgammon tournaments in London alone.

In The Psychology of Backgammon  Barclay Cooke and Jon Bradshaw write “Once it [backgammon] is taken seriously, however, cunning labyrinths and curious paradoxes begin to appear…The psychiatrist goes on to say that the professionals of any game are those who place their opponents in various categories, and then apply the trap most likely to seduce them. It is the failure to recognize these traps and the subsequent inability to exert some rational control over the course of events that not only indicate but instigate disaster.”

Alexandra uses British craftsman, to the very highest of standards and refers to the exotic, leisure time in which the game is played, and truly global nature of the game. It’s a pertinent move, as an anonymous, online game can never compete with the aural, relational and tactile nature of a physical board game. Some of Alexandra’s designs are limited edition, such as Pomegranate (pictured) others are staples in her production line and all can be personlised. Which one would you play? Our favourite are the counters with the finger prints, it’s a solid allusion to the untraceable history of the game and the transitory nature of our own actions. Take a look at a couple of traditional and delightful boards here.