This Shop Is A Walk-In Optical Illusion

The Dutch publication Frame magazine bills itself as the “world’s leading interior design publication.” So you can imagine that an interior design firm tasked with creating a retail store for the magazine has quite a reputation to uphold.

Netherlands-based i29 Architects’ interior for Frame’s newest shop delivers. Their clever conceptual design turns a simple retail space into a optical illusion of sorts and appears to invert when viewed from different perspectives. Shoppers will feel like they’re walking in an interactive art installation.

From one vantage point, the Amsterdam shop’s decor is predominantly white and rectangular, and the space appears strangely devoid of products; from the opposing perspective, the decor is black, triangular, and hung with items for sale. As you walk into the shop from the front, an installation of white rectangular panels framed in black hangs from the ceiling and lines the floors. These create a kind of pixelated X-shape that seems to float in space. The panels serve as blank canvases: they can be periodically changed and customized, replaced with text or graphics. When viewed from back to front, the space is a horse of a different color: visitors see that the white panels hide products, from clothing to magazines to perfumes, hanging from triangular display boards painted black.

It’s a design that celebrates the interplay of opposites–black and white, empty versus full–like a yin yang symbol translated into a conceptual interior.CD