Illusion in Design
Trompe-l’oeil, camouflage, spatial tricks, anamorphosis … The word of the day is optical illusion. Distorting the appearance of real things for the sake of aesthetics, problem solving or just for fun. This, basically, sums up the scope of this astonishing book.
Once upon a time there were the Greeks, the authors remind us, who invented the optical illusion known as entasis and from then onwards, in the vortex of history, we come to find ourselves confronted by the great transparent mirages of modernist glass boxes and curtain walls. The six chapters, all underlain by the idea of mystery, are an invitation to look and marvel.
The book certainly lends itself more being leafed through than to being narrated, because it’s hard to describe a Venetian hotel that visually incorporates water and stones into a room or to adequately render the intimate use of local topographical elements, or even explain how the dichotomy between nature and the built environment can become integration by employing the device of disorientating windows. It would be equally reductive to write about how even places of peace and silence, vehicles for contemplative silence, can help overcome and distort the barriers of the real world, like the house with walls covered with mirrored stripes that reflect the surrounding desert, creating the illusion of bringing it indoors. There is also the chapel on the beach which, at high tide, looks like a vessel run aground. Then, what should we make of the signs, like murals and “urban lies,” or rather architectural distortions, according to the authors, or the manipulations of space through colour?
Art, projects, materials and furnishings create the perfect balance of distortion. In the name of illusion.
Title: Illusion in Design. New Trends in Architecture and Interiors
Author: Gay Giordano and Paul Gunther
Publisher: Rizzoli New York