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House of Cards Mock-up Process (Heart Cards)

Ray Eames


Although these mock-ups feature a design that ultimately did not appear in the House of Cards deck, they reference a key source of inspiration for the toy. The Eameses took standard playing cards—and the precarious structures that can be built with them—as a starting point when designing their House of Cards; these mock-ups call to mind the Ace of Hearts from a traditional deck. In this case, the red hearts—which Ray carefully cut from red paper and pasted to each card—are surrounded by six black lines that indicate where notches would be cut into the cards, allowing users to assemble sturdier structures than is possible with conventional playing cards. Hearts were a common motif in the Eames universe, appearing, for instance, as cutouts in the back of the Eameses' molded plywood children’s chairs. They also made frequent appearances in Ray’s correspondence, notes, and sketches.

  • Medium:Collage on card
  • Dimensions:3 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. (8.9 x 5.7 cm)
  • Item:T.2019.2.307