Positive Luxury meets founder Alexandra Llewellyn Design, bespoke backgammon board brand to discuss the stunning craftsmanship behind the luxury boards and latest collaboration with WildAid.
Your backgammon boards are absolutely incredible, how do you draw inspiration for your designs?
I am always inspired by working with extraordinary craftsmen – learning about new techniques and materials and continually experimenting. Many of my designs draw inspiration from growing up in the English countryside. The colours and shapes and sights of a walk in the countryside on a summers day, and winter nights playing backgammon by a roaring fire.
My bespoke commissions come from my clients, through a conversation about what their likes and experiences. I love learning about and re-interpreting people’s stories – it is often like creating an open biography about their life and loves.
I usually begin a commission with a list of questions that the client answers and adds to. I then begin to put together ideas and sketches and the design process becomes a conversation. We go through as many drafts as are needed until we distill exactly what the client wants.
How have you selected the artisans and master craftsmen you work with?
I only work with U.K based workshops and am very proud of this to fly the British flag. We have great relationships with everyone we work with, and I speak to many of them more than most of my family!
In addition to nurturing craftsmanship and ensuring these traditional crafts transcend generations, you are extremely engaged with supporting charity organisation through the sales and auctions of your board. Can you tell us a little bit more about your most recent creation for WildAid?
The Wild Aid gala was in San Francisco on 12th November, we had donated the artist’s proof to be auctioned off at the event. 20% of each sale of the remaining edition of 10 boards will go to WildAid, which retail at £5,800 inc VAT. WildAid do so much for wildlife conservation all over the world with their aim to stop global consumption of illegal wildlife products. It is an honour to be able to contribute and it seemed fitting to create a game for people to play and also debate over. Kristian Schmidt is a world renowned fashion and wildlife photographer and he has signed and numbered each board. All the playing pieces are engraved with the names of the world’s most endangered species, in their English and latin names, and the lid is engraved with Wild Aid logo. The box is in macassar Ebony, with calf leather lined compartments, precision cut casino quality dice, leather lined dice shakers, playing pieces are lapis blue and turquoise blue stones encased in brass.
Would you elaborate on the reasons why you have chosen to support WildAid?
Education and awareness are key to the fight against illegal wildlife trade, and this is what WildAid do so well. Kristian has supported WildAid for years and I have always admired his work. When I met with a friend of his we decided to brainstorm ways in which I could help the charity and Kristian’s work translated so beautifully onto the backgammon boards. The aim was to create a beautiful conversation piece, that would be played on and inspire debate and conversation about what we can all do for our planet.
If there is one thing you could change in the world today, what would it be?
That would require a long list, but it doesn’t hurt to think big – bringing world leaders together over a game of backgammon as a reminder that we all the same; nationality and differences melt away when we all meet on the same level of human interaction and enjoyment of life and each other. World peace over a few games of backgammon?!
Find out more about Alexandra Llewellyn as a brand to trust here