Puzzles may seem like a product of the past– on its last legs along with floppy discs, drive-in theaters, and actually knocking on someone’s door to let them know you’re outside. As we replace and upgrade, more often than not the digital replaces the physical. Cellphones to replace landlines, computers to replace typewriters, Kindles to replace books. But, launched in 2019, Piecework Puzzles is a refreshing homage to a classic pastime.
That word– pastime– is what Piecework is all about. They may make puzzles, but on a philosophical level, this company is actually about one of life’s greatest luxuries: time. Even the brand’s name, Piecework, is a salute to the significance to the process, the act of putting something together piece by piece.
Puzzles may be a classic, but Piecework has a modern take on it. Whimsical and modern, Piecework shines when it fully leans into its unique aesthetic of luxury surrealism. Even their boxes are designed to be bold, striking, and cohesive as a collection and are infinitely more suitable displayed on a coffee table than stuffed in a closet. With each puzzlescape showcasing a different theme or concept with such detail and complexity, delving into one is almost an act of escapism.
Maybe puzzles seem to be part of the old world because there’s something fundamentally tactile about piecing a jigsaw puzzle together, and modernizing it in digital form makes it completely lose its essence. Instead, founders Rachel Hochhauser and Jena Wolfe bring a contemporary touch to this older form of entertainment by emphasizing the different worlds puzzles can bring us to.
The idea of Piecework came to Hochhauser during a visit to Yosemite that she booked for a weekend escape. When bad weather interrupted her plans, she turned to a closet full of puzzles to pass the time and found the peace and relaxation that she was searching for all along. On her next trip, Hochhauser and Wolfe went together and brought along another puzzle- the rest was history. Using their backgrounds at a creative agency, they founded a brand that prioritizes a spectacular visual experience and the use of recycled materials.
A puzzle is not something to be done in a rush. It’s something to do, not get done. When thinking of luxuries we often neglect to consider experience.