Incredible Optical Illusion Makes Building Appear To Float In Mid-Air

Londoners strolling through Covent Garden this month are in for a surprise: The piazza’s historic Market Building, 184 years old, seems to float above its foundation, with a 10-foot gap between the top and bottom of the Doric colonnade.

“I’ve created this large architectural illusion, which hopefully offers a real spectacle, but at the same time uses the same material and visual language as the piazza,” says 29-year-old British artist Alex Chinneck, who designed the stunt. Chinneck worked with a team of more than 100 collaborators, from set builders to steel fabricators, in order to bring his vision to life. Installing the jigsaw puzzle of pieces at Covent Garden, a square near London’s theater district, took four days. Watch how they did it:

Chinneck has built his reputation with cheeky, large-scale architectural installations. In Margate, Kent, he created a house with a “sliding” facade, dubbed “From the Knees of My Nose to the Belly of My Toes,” and on Blackfriars Road in central London he designed a narrow facade, flipped on its head, entitled “Under the Weather But Over the Moon.” This project, which required 14 tons of steel and a ton of paint, plus four tons of counterweight, is his largest to date.

“Take My Lightning But Don’t Steal My Thunder” will be on display at Covent Garden’s East Piazza through October 24.