Handcrafted chessboard production: an exclusive segment that is on the upswing. Provided the pieces produced are unique, handcrafted and irreproducible
The boom in demand for the production of handmade chess sets is a recent phenomenon. Perhaps it was the planetary success of The Chess Queen, or perhaps it is one of those trends that cyclically recur, the fact remains that chess and all its accessories have become cult objects. As such, for some years now, they have been seen not only for their function - the game - but above all as objects to show off, to be used to complete the style of a room or to give a chic and exclusive touch to an entire environment. Not only that. Their essence is at the same time timeless - just think that the first news about the game of chess dates back to the year 1000 - and yet always different, thanks to the possibility of using an infinite number of materials for the production of chess and chessboards.
And what is happening today? What's happening is that the chessboard is becoming a sort of white (or rather chequered) board available to designers and stylists who are having fun creating increasingly innovative, exclusive and experimental solutions. The key word, however, always remains one: style. Alongside stylistic research, however, there are also the objectives of lightness, durability and tactile quality, which are essential aspects for true connoisseurs of the game. One example is the chessboard we are publishing in this article, which embodies all of the above. Let's try to analyse it in order to understand how the production of handmade and luxury chessboards really works.
First point: materials
The choice of materials is decisive because, although wood is always the dominant element, you cannot stop at wood if you really want to surprise and produce exclusive handcrafted chessboards. So, in this case, we find maple wood inlaid and then stained with a light oak shade. A delicate combination that plays on the light tones and, thanks to the use of maple, makes the chessboard extremely light. Alongside the wood is leather. In fact, the chessboard is made up of black and white leather applications on the playing surface, creating a contrast between the glossy and matt surfaces, as well as between the smooth surface and the soft elements (the playing surface). The effect is exclusive but also comfortable, since the leather allows the chessboard to fit perfectly, enabling players to play their games even when travelling by train or ship, when stability risks being precarious.
Point two: the pawns
Pawns are not just a game element, they are much more than that. If the chessboard is an object, the pieces hide a charm all their own that takes them beyond their identity as accessories. For this reason, in the project we illustrate, they have been given special attention, so much so that they have been made of olive and black ebony wood selected through a long phase of analysis in order to find pieces with the best grain, able to match perfectly. This is how the classic black and white Towers or Horses become small objects of design (also in shape) and materials. A special touch for the Pawns, which are designed as a sort of medal, again in Olive and Black Ebony, which further lighten the chessboard and give a further touch of design to the whole.
Third point: the details
In this case the clasp and hinges. Made of brass finished with an aged Palladium effect, they complete the chessboard by adding an element of further exclusivity and a new material to the wood and leather. The brass adds a touch of tradition to the chessboard and makes it out of fashion and time.
Point four: complexity
The most valuable and least visible part: the complexity of making it. Producing a chessboard like this is complex, and to do so requires first and foremost great craftsmanship skills(see our services on this subject). But that's not all. The materials involved in the manufacturing process are different and the way they have to be processed is different. So, once the project is defined, the difference is made by the few companies that are able to turn it into an object, made as it should be and perfect in every detail. To have been involved in this adventure and to have had the task of evaluating, modifying and making such an exclusive object was a challenge that involved our company and several of its internal divisions, which applied themselves to the individual materials and the processes required to assemble them in the most correct way and with the best aesthetic effect. The result was an experience that has nothing to do with industrial production but is very close to pure craftsmanship, deep manual skill, almost like art. From the realisation of the sample, the guidelines for the actual handcrafted chessboard production were defined, trying to optimise certain steps and speed up the flow as much as possible. But at the centre of everything always remains the hand of man and experience, two aspects that can only be found in companies capable of measuring themselves every day on unique products and with materials that are different every time.