Author: Aoife Moriarty
One of the oldest board games in existence, backgammon was originally played by the leaders of ancient civilisations in Greece, Rome, Persia and the Far East.
But fast-forward to 2014 and London based designer Alexandra Llewellyn is creating bespoke designs for the homes of the city’s elite. A nostalgia for simpler times and a desire for impressive statement pieces have clients flocking to order her designs, handmade by a team of master craftsmen from across the UK.
“I create the boards to be conversation pieces. Sort of bright in colour and bold in design,” Llewellyn explains, “but then my bespoke work is very much about the personal and eking out the client’s story.”
Some of her recent one-off commissions have included a board made of airplane materials created for a private jet and a game set made out of love letters for a fiftieth wedding anniversary. For another – a present for a client’s other half – she painted the husband’s favourite species of butterflies and plants directly onto the playing board.
One-off pieces often have secret drawers and compartments with messages inscribed in the wood, Llewellyn says, adding that with bespoke designs virtually “anything is possible”.
The luxury sets are also created with the intention of being passed down through the generations: “I love the idea of creating something that’s a design piece but also a game,” says Llewellyn. “It’s that idea of bringing people together and creating time. And your great grandchildren are going to play on it.”
Standard boards by Alexandra Llewellyn are priced £3,400 to £3,650. For bespoke enquiries contact: email@example.com.