The Eames’ name has been synonymous with top-class design since the studio’s founding in 1941 by husband and wife Ray and Charles Eames. Their legacy lives on within The Eames Office, which has recently teamed up with the playing card experts at Art of Play to bring us Eames Playing Cards.
The seminal edition of this series of limited-edition designer playing cards hits retailers around the globe today. For $18 a pack, you too can live out your mid-century modern poker night fantasies—Old Fashioneds sold separately.
This first drop was designed by Art of Play in close collaboration with The Eames Office, and it features The Eames Office Starburst Logo on the backs of each card. This icon was ubiquitous across the illustrated works of Ray and Charles, and it represents the infectious creative energy of the duo. Satisfyingly stark depictions of red and black shapes adorn each card, which will bring savvy minimalism to even the most raucous of poker nights.
“Playing cards are the sort of platform that resonates with the Eames work,” says Director of The Eames Office and Charles and Ray’s grandson, Eames Demetrios, in a press release. “A deck of cards offers clear constraints, but as long as you satisfy those constraints, you have a great deal of freedom.”
Art of Play was founded by twin brothers Dan and Dave Buck in 2013 after they had risen to prominence pioneering a new form of sleight-of-hand they call “cardistry”—a portmanteau of “card” and “artistry.” Cardistry is a combination of magic, skateboarding, and architecture used to create compelling demonstrations of aesthetic dexterity.
“It’s like a symphony of manipulating and spinning and flipping the cards in your hands,” the twins explained in a Great Big Story feature on their art form. Regardless, they were the perfect pair to partner with for this first Eames Playing Cards edition.
Co-founder and CEO of Art of Play, Dave Buck, says, “The numbering system on the faces of first edition Eames Playing Cards enables acts of cardistry to pay homage to the Eameses’ classic film Powers of Ten. Meanwhile, the court cards suggest the higher majesty Ray and Charles saw in elegant geometric shapes.”
This and every forthcoming edition of Eames Playing Cards will come packaged in a letterpress-printed tuck case, printed on sustainable paper using vegetable-based dyes. Future editions will be the product of other collaborations with The Eames Office, including partnerships with design juggernauts Pentagram and Pentagram Partner Paula Scher.