1. The man and the puzzle.
Ernő Rubik peeking out from a
stack of his iconic puzzle cubes.
2. From wood to riches. In 1974,
Rubik created this prototype of the
cube that would go on to become
the best-selling toy of all time.
Interior Design Professor’s
“The problems oF puzzles are very near the problems of life.”
So said Ernő Rubik in explaining the enduring appeal of a puzzle he
invented in 1974 while teaching an interior design class and attempting to bet-
ter understand how to move parts independently without compromising the
integrity of the greater whole.
Rubik was teaching interior architecture and design at the
Academy of Arts and Crafts (the name changed to Moholy-Nagy
University of Art and Design in 2006) in Budapest when he
probed his interest in the “incredibly rich possibilities” of space
— alteration, transformation, movement. A sculptor, architect, and
teacher, Rubik created a prototype out of wood and rubber bands.
Eventually, on each of the six faces of the cube, Rubik applied colored paper (blue, red, yellow, white, green, and orange). Rubik
didn’t realize he had created a puzzle until he began moving the pieces and
found it difficult to restore each face to a single color.
When Rubik shared the cube with his interior design students, they loved it.
Noting the appeal, he decided to pursue a patent, a process he understood from
his father’s work designing gliders. The “Magic Cube” sold only in Hungary
shared the cube
with his interior
they loved it.