Designer puzzles are the surprise trend of 2020. These are our favorites
New York’s new hottest club is . . . your living room. No, really. With more than bitter cold keeping us indoors for the next “who knows!” months, our at-home entertainment options are dwindling.
Unforeseen boredom is what led Piecework Puzzles cofounder Rachel Hochhauser to dive headfirst into the world of jigsaw, when she found herself with a closet full of old puzzles and without reception while on a trip to Yosemite a few years ago. A few months later, when she and cofounder Jena Wolfe left on a getaway, Wolfe says she was surprised when Hochhauser whipped out a puzzle for fun. “We just started talking about how there were no puzzles that spoke to our aesthetic,” said Hochhauser. “No puzzles we’d want to gift to someone or show up for a weekend with or put on our coffee table for display because it takes weeks to finish.”
The two partners at Major Studio naturally turned to designing their own stylish puzzles, which are branded down to curated Spotify playlists and shelfie-ready packaging. Piecework Puzzles feature hyper-saturated, kitsch-core photography, depicting scenes from a good night out for an even better night in.
Hochhauser describes the puzzles as meditative products for the modern age. “I can unplug when I have a puzzle in front of me,” she says. “They have this duality about them. You can work on them with people over cocktails or after a dinner party, but they’re also something you can do alone, to transition from your day to personal time.”
Piecework isn’t the only one in on the fun: unusual, fantastical, just plain beautiful (and maybe a little bit frustrating) puzzles are aplenty this year. We still believe puzzles make a strong gift this holiday season, but stocking your shelves with ones for yourself doesn’t seem like a bad idea either. Here are some of our faves.
Jiggy founder Kaylin Marcotte launched her company in 2019 with the intent of celebrating emerging female artists and helping put puzzle-sale funds back in their pockets. Each Jiggy Puzzle comes in a sleek, cork-capped glass tube with glue and a straightedge, so the maker can bind and display their completed print.
Waves Iridescent Puzzle
The gradient puzzle is a binary choice for many enthusiasts, but Waves kicks it up a notch with its signature iridescent lucite pieces that shift shades with the flick of a wrist. It’s 49 pieces, but the process is challenging, dizzying, and just plain beautiful. Sure to delight puzzle lovers of any skill level.
Brooklinen is an expert at helping you wind down, so it’s no surprise a puzzle has popped into its inventory this holiday season. The essential home textiles brand partnered with London artist Tess Smith-Roberts to pay homage to our inside voices, with a 500-piece puzzle aptly titled “Indoor Party.”
Canadian brand Fits creates small-batch, elevated puzzles that feature the work of up-and-coming female artists. Each 1,000-piece puzzle is made with a textured linen finish, meant to be tacked together with glue and hung on the wall and admired forever.
Hochhauser says puzzles can be so subjective, but based on popularity, she recommends the brand’s all-time best seller: a topical technicolor 1,000-piece puzzle named “Forbidden Fruits. She also recommends “Life of the Party” for those seeking a challenge. “It has the most blue background and is essentially a version of a gradient puzzle,” she adds. “It’s very polarizing.”
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