ArtPrize: 10,000 Create-It-All Cards

Eames Create-It-All Cards at ArtPrize: How one city’s collaborative project with 10,000 Eames Giant Create-It-All cards can inspire you to do your own.

The Eames Office participated in ArtPrize 2012, an annual, two-week-long art bonanza in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Students created individual works of art on Create-It-All Eames Giant House of Cards. Once assembled, the 10,000 interlocking cards formed the world’s largest House of Cards structure ever built.


Charles and Ray Eames designed the original House of Cards (still available today) in 1952 as a small deck of 54 playing cards. Exemplifying the Eameses’ appreciation for the uncommon beauty of common things, the cards displayed a rich assortment of photographs from the animal, mineral, and vegetable kingdoms, and could be assembled together to form fantastic structures both large and small. The design duo eventually produced the game in additional sizes, including the Medium and Giant House of Cards, but it wasn’t until 2002 that the Eames Office developed Create-It-All Eames House of Cards as a fun, collaborative, and educational teaching tool.

On September 22, 2012, Scott Christopher Homes, Via Design, and others created an enormous structure from 5,000 of these giant cards in Rosa Parks Circle, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Onlookers from the community simultaneously decorated additional cards with bright and colorful drawings, words, poems, ideas, and hopes for the future. The structure remained on view for two days. Students from 43 West Michigan schools and the Eames Office Chair Camp (another ArtPrize event) adorned the remaining undecorated cards.

All 10,000 cards—each one now beautifully decorated—were reassembled into a brand new configuration of arches, alleys, walls, and towers inside The Gallery at One South Division. The space stayed open for the remainder of ArtPrize. In the end, the cards were returned to the participating schools for continued building and long-lasting enjoyment.

Take a virtual tour by watching the time-lapse video below, presented on Vimeo by Scott Christopher Homes and VIA design.