If there is one goal of interior design, it is to get the most out of the interior space. Sometimes, the space is already ideally configured and all it needs are some small adjustments. Other times, the needs to be a lot of work consciously done to change the complete perception of the room. On these occasions, it is about harnessing the power of the optical illusions of interior design to generate changes. 

Optical Illusion created by Atmosphere Architects in Chengdu jewellery store - Sheet1
Jewellery store in Chengdu, by Atmosphere Architects _♥Chuan He of Here Space

This is the case for a new jewellery store in Chengdu, by Atmosphere Architects. The space is 180-square-meters, and it belongs to the jewellery brand Kill Via Kindness.

The architects have incorporated different characteristics to create an optical illusion, and play with the users’ special perception, making it look futuristic by the way they have used colour, scale, lighting and mirrors.

Colour

The interior walls consist of matt black panels that create a grid framework, and it’s completely windowless. In contrast, the floor and ceiling are white. The floor is made of white tiles and the grout is black. The ceiling has a black grid that frames a luminous acrylic layer. Here we can appreciate why the election of colour is of such paramount importance when it comes to making an optical illusion. 

Optical Illusion created by Atmosphere Architects in Chengdu jewellery store - Sheet2
Black walls in contrast to light floor and ceiling_♥Chuan He of Here Space

While it is probably not difficult to believe that the colour you choose will drastically affect the overall feeling of a room, knowing how to use it for your benefit is a different story.Lighter colours, for example, make a room look bigger, that is why it is often used in areas such as narrow bedrooms for small spaces. However, in larger rooms, even if these soft tones may seem like the perfect fit for those with a modern aesthetic, they can make large spaces, such as large rooms or open-concept areas feel rigid.The darker tones, on the other hand, can make the rooms feel as if the walls have closed a little. For this reason, it is not recommended to use them in narrow areas. However, occasionally, a little proximity can work in your favour, since adding a touch of intense colour can facilitate the conversation. In this case, the architects created a perfect mix of the lightest and darkest colours. This selection of colours makes the room seem longer, accentuating the ceiling and floor to make it seem as if the space has no end.

Scale 

The reality is that the furniture you place in a room plays an indescribably important role in the appearance of the finished product. The key is to make sure that it sends the right message.Rooms with fewer square feet should consider smaller and thinner furniture and, in particular, pieces with defined legs. This additional image of space will help open the room by giving the illusion that the furniture takes up less space.However, if the goal is comfort and there is plenty of space, it is wise to choose grounded furniture, which is precisely what they did in this jewellery store in Chengdu. 

Optical Illusion created by Atmosphere Architects in Chengdu jewellery store - Sheet3
Configurable furniture_♥Chuan He of Here Space

These pieces are heavier and bring the feeling that this space is a place where people can feel free to feel at home. And when people feel comfortable they are more likely to buy things. Moreover, Atmosphere Architects told Dezeen in an interview that “The core concept behind KVK is ‘the reorganized philosophy of art”. “Therefore, the client wanted a space that is flexible and easy to reorganize with flexible and adaptable modules.” This is why these heavy furniture pieces, where the jewellery is displayed, consist of units clad in glossy black tiles, which can be rearranged in any form and shape desired.

Lighting 

In this project, there are hidden drawers on the walls of the room. When these drawers are opened the light turns on immediately. They are used as extra storage space and adaptable lighting arrangements. 

Optical Illusion created by Atmosphere Architects in Chengdu jewellery store - Sheet4
Drawers in the walls light up when opened_♥Chuan He of Here Space

However, the main source of light comes from the ceiling. It makes the room look like it has more height and avoids the feeling of being trapped in a cave. Moreover, it also avoids attracting the gaze of the customers in one particular direction, which is what would happen if it was lit by individual light bulbs, and it makes them look at the whole room, making the optical illusion of it being bigger than it is.  

Mirrors 

When talking about optical illusions of interior design, there is no way we can ignore the cornerstone of interior design tips: if you need to deceive the eye, add a mirror, and that is exactly what the architects decided to go for in this project. Adding a mirror can affect the room in two ways.Firstly, adding a mirror to a small room will make it look bigger. In this case, the place to add the mirror would be on the back wall of the room or at the furthest point from the door. 

Mirror at the end of the room makes it appear endless_♥Chuan He of Here Space

This will help attract viewers through the entire space and trick them into occupying as many square meters as possible.Secondly, mirrors can also help add visual height to a room. Here, choosing a vertical mirror (a mirror that occupies the whole wall) is what makes the eyes follow that line of sight to the ceiling.

All in all, these use of colour, scale, light and mirrors, create the illusion of a large, futuristic yet welcoming space. In addition, all the grids created in the walls, ceiling and floors, the different use of colours, light, materials and textures, respond to the brand’s ideals, the beauty of collision. There are many spider references in their designs, and the gridded framework is a reference to spiderwebs.

This store is the perfect example of how sometimes we need to use tricks to help viewers perceive a space as better than it is, and how we have optical illusions of interior design to save the day.

References 

  • Morris, A., 2022. Atmosphere Architects creates optical illusion in Chengdu jewellery store. [online] Dezeen. Available at: <https://www.dezeen.com/2022/06/02/atmosphere-architects-kvk-jewellery-store-chengdu/> [Accessed 7 June 2022].
  • Dodsworth, S., 2016. The fundamentals of interior design. 2nd ed.
  • Nielson, K. and Taylor, D., 2011. Interiors. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Masterclass. 2020. How to Use Scale and Proportion for Better Interior Design. [online] Available at: <https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-use-scale-and-proportion-for-better-interior-design#6-tips-for-using-scale-and-proportion-in-interior-design> [Accessed 8 June 2022].
  • Mirror City. 2021. The Benefits of Using Mirrors in Interior Design | Mirror City. [online] Available at: <https://www.mirrorcity.com.au/blogs/blogs/the-benefits-of-using-mirrors-in-interior-design> [Accessed 9 June 2022].

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