When Bryan Berg was just eight years old, his grandfather introduced him to card stacking. “My grandfather was in the theatre business, but in his spare time he was a pretty dedicated card player,” says Berg. “I can recall many weekends of my childhood that played out like a card tournament, where the whole family got in on the games. It was common for my grandfather to build a small house of cards right there on the table between matches.” Those memories inspired him to build card houses higher and higher, and now, Berg’s card stacking skills are getting the recognition it deserves. The talented builder is the subject of WIRED’s latest video “How This Guy Stacks Playing Cards Impossibly High.”
Berg is a Harvard educated designer builds structures that are dozens of stories tall, can withstand gusts from a leaf blower and can even hold up bricks. He claimed his first world record while still in high school and currently holds several Guinness records. “I know this will kind of sound crazy, but I actually don’t even know how many times I’ve done a Guinness project,” says Berg. Berg claimed the tallest house of cards in 12 hours building the structure on top of a fully loaded and running washing machine. Since 1994, Berg has been stacking cards professionally for clients around the world, including companies like Disney, Lexus, Tiffany & Co., LG, Virgin, Sands, and the San Francisco Opera.
Berg has developed his own approach to card building, relying more on boxes than the traditional triangle shape. All of his structures are completely free-standing, meaning he doesn’t use any tape, glue, folding, bending or other tricks for what he builds. Berg has also recreated iconic locations, such as the Venetian Casino in Macao. One of the biggest challenges of Berg’s works is that they are temporary by nature, but Berg enjoys knocking the builds down as much as he enjoys putting them together. There is some risk, but Berg keeps moving forward, learning as he goes.