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Gemini Terra, Ignis, Noctis (2016)

Gemini Terra, Ignis, Noctis (2016)

The Gemini project was inspired by the Heretic cards, specifically the 58th card, which features the Queen of Hearts both smiling and crying. Although the illustration seemed to be designed in the classic one-way style, the two distinct facial expressions hinted at the possibility of two separate individuals who looked alike, as twins do. The Latin term Gemini, was a perfect fit for this concept, and the significance of astrology in this regard could not be overlooked. Despite being somewhat skeptical about astrology, the fascination it holds for humankind remains undeniable. The intention for the court cards was to depict twins with subtle, symmetrical differences. However, upon closer inspection, these differences would become more pronounced.

As a keen enthusiast of calligraphy and with the project’s medieval influences, I sought inspiration from ancient manuscripts written by amanuensis in monasteries. While I have some knowledge of lettering, I was not confident in my calligraphy abilities. I sought out a professional who could execute my vision. After thorough research, I was fortunate to find Karl O’Brien, also known as 85Kobe, who matched my preferred calligraphic style. I provided him with a Latin text related to the zodiac, which he tested on a grid I provided. The objective was to create a script that could serve as decoration while being relevant to the project’s theme. Though I am uncertain if anyone has attempted to decipher the text, it was essential that it made sense and remained pertinent.

The use of Latin phrases throughout the Gemini project inspired me to search for other interesting phrases to incorporate into the project. I decided on three deck names, with two decks sharing the same layout but featuring different colors for the back design. Terra (soil) and Ignis (fire) were chosen, while the third deck was dedicated to the night sky and the stars, particularly the Gemini constellation and the entire zodiac. I named it Noctis, despite the Noctis variant being a part of the Heretic project. The front of Noctis tuckbox features the depiction of the whole zodiac.

The layout design also holds a significant role, prompting me to experiment and undergo trials. When designing Gemini, I embraced a daring strategy by deviating from the conventional vertical alignment of the indices. While maintaining readability, this unconventional choice still presents legible letters despite their reduced size, thanks to the bold and distinct font. I acknowledge that this approach might not be optimal for certain well-known games, yet my inclination is to delve into uncharted territories and venture into novel approaches.

In the initial stages of designing the aces, I was inspired by the concept of a coat of arms. Each ace bore a monogram symbolizing a different house: the House of Spades, Clubs, Hearts, and Diamonds.


However, I eventually abandoned this concept in favor of a more whimsical idea. In this revamped approach, the spade of the ace transformed into a blade, and the entire object took on the appearance of a medieval weapon complete with a handle and blade. At its core, the Gemini zodiac sign identified this weapon as a key element of the artifact. I named it the ‘Blade of Spades’ and adorned it with a ribbon inscribed with that title. The end result is a collection of four weapons that I renamed ‘AXES,’ playing with the idea that a single letter swap distinguishes them as both an ace and an axe.

With Gemini, I ventured into the realm of woodworking, thanks to my partner, a skilled artisan versed in woodcraft.

Recognizing the allure of noble materials, particularly wood, I envisioned the creation of an innovative collector’s box in solid mahogany. This box featured a distinctive magnetic closure that seemed almost seamless. It gracefully separated into two parts, providing a snug haven for the three decks in the series. The lid bore deeply laser-etched graphics, depicting the 2 profiles of the twins, and the Gemini constellation with its 18 stars. These stars, inlaid with gold-plated micro-magnets of varying sizes, represented the stars with higher intensity in the night sky.
A total of 55 collector’s boxes were meticulously handcrafted and assembled in Stockholm.

Funded with Kickstarter in 2016
6000 decks in total manufactured by Expert Playing Card Co.
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