Perimeter Center

Creative Illusions

Illusion is such a neat part of the design world. It’s always forcing your mind to think just a little bit more, whether it’s in the world of architecture or art. When I first think of art optical illusions, I think of those books as a kid where you’d hold it close to your face. Slowly you’d take the book from your face to that sweet point where you finally see the image in the illusion. Obviously, there are much better examples of it in the real world. M. C. Escher is famously known for his optical illusions, along with other famous artist like Salvador Dali, Bridget Riley, Marcel Duchamp and many more. There are different degrees of illusion. There is the literal optical illusion, which creates images that are different from the objects that make them (i.e. vase vs. face). There are also the physiological ones, which are caused by the eyes and brain’s excessive stimulation. This type of illusion has gained some popularity thanks to the Internet. Looking at a computer screen for a long time can have an effect on anyone’s eyes.

Besides the artist illusions, there are also ways illusions have integrated themselves in the architecture world. Even back to the days of when the Parthenon was being built. If you look up the word ‘entasis’, it refers to how the columns were built to have a thicker base in order to correct our eyes ability to make a column appear concave. That is just one of the subtle modifications made in the Parthenon, to make things seem different from what they actually are. While there is still not a clear-cut reason given for ‘entasis,’ it’s clear that people have been interested in illusions for quite some time. Some more obvious examples are of built illusions are of staircases that produce a certain illusion.


There are a lot of buildings that force your perspective to make them appear either bigger or smaller.

So what is it about illusions that we seem to find so fascinating? For me, it’s amazing how many different aspects we are able to create. With new technology coming into the arena now, there are newer illusions that are being created. I never thought that 3D movies would last honestly. Because of the new cameras available out there, the movies are being more and more realistic. How soon do you predict 4D movies are around the corner? Full emersion technology is something that people are trying to actively achieve. What’s going to stop our illusions from being a reality? It’s part of human curiosity. And I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

The article that inspired this particular post.

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