As Fiona Vlemmiks discovers, luxury, hand-crafted gaming sets are the ultimate indulgence for both board-game aficionados and those passionate about contemporary art
Board games have been universally enjoyed throughout the course of history. Games such as senet, played by the ancient Egyptians, can be traced as far back as 3100 BC, while backgammon originated in ancient Persia and chess in 6th-century India.
Today, board games bridge cultural boundaries and generation gaps and far from losing their allure in a digital age, there is a clear renaissance in interest and engagement. Backgammon, for instance, is reportedly currently popular with hedge fund analysts, who treat it as a workout for the grey cells, while techies and neuroscientists are studying the intricacies of the game with great interest, applying findings in the creation of digital technology.
Simon Purkis, who established Purling London Art Games in 2012, says his creations are a pure celebration of art and playfulness. Purkis was struck by inspiration for his lavish games company when he struggled to distinguish the pieces while playing chess at sunset. “It seemed a wonderful opportunity to revamp the iconic design and introduce lacquered, one-off artist-painted pieces to complement modern interior designs,” he says.