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Mirror Image – 10 Reflective Buildings that Trick the Eye

An architect has many tools at their disposal to intentionally fool the eye. Few are as powerful as the reflective facade however. This selection of 10 mirrored buildings reflect their surroundings, often seeming to disappear entirely when viewed from certain angles.

1. Mirror House by Peter Pichler

The Dolomite Mountains of the South Tyrol region of northern Italy are brought into sharp focus in the mirrored facades of these houses by architect Peter Pichler. The black aluminum-clad facades feature curvilinear architecture that mimic the organic shapes of the mountains. The recessed foundation and the mirrors give the impression that the complex is floating on air.

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2. Reflective Roadside Cafe

A very interesting roadside cafe by Japanese firm Bandesign. Here the branches of an adjacent row of cherry trees are multiplied many times over in the polished mirrored surface of the building.

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3. Abandoned Cabin in the Desert

This cabin creates a surreal sight. Using alternating mirrored slats, the building only half disappears into its surroundings. Solid mirrored windows and doors add to the illusion, highlighting the desolate desert plain.

4. An Invisible Barn

Designed for the 2014 Folly Competition, this structure seem like a mirage as you approach the little park in which it stands.

A combination of see-through portals and mirrored surfaces give the impression that the mirrored barn is actually a three-dimensional structure when it is in fact a house-shaped wall.

5. Reflective Hanging Tree Hotel

Almost invisible among the branches of its forest setting in Harads, Sweden, this mirrored cube is among the lodgings offered by ‘Treehotel,’ Designed by Tham & Videgard architects, it’s attached to a single tree and clad entirely in mirrored glass.

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6. Chateau de Rentilly: Mirror-Clad French Country House

Architecture studio Bona-LeMercier worked with artist Xavier Veilhan and set designer Alexis Bertrand to create the reflective effect of this building; a 1960s country house, Le Château de Rentilly.

The former home is now a permanent gallery for Frac Île-de-France, the region’s contemporary art fund.

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7. Reflective Mirror House by Johan Selbing & Anouk Vogel

Mirror House’ by Johan Sebring Architecture and Anouk Vogel uses mirrors as a form of camouflage to increase the occupants’ sense of privacy. The building merges into its natural surroundings with a facade made of reflective glass.

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8. Reflective Elevator Addition to an Italian Villa

Sp10 Studio came up with this solution of disguising an elevator shaft upon the exterior of a traditional 18th century Italian villa in Genoa.

The design reflects the surrounding gardens, while remaining relatively unobtrusive.

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9. Optical Illusion Street Facade Art

Here we have an interactive art installation, interact by Leandro Erlich on display at Le 14 in Paris as part of the In_Perceptions exhibition.

The project added a massive mirror to the vertical facade of a real building, reflecting a fake facade that was applied to the sidewalk in front of it. The result is a fun optical illusion that made participants appear to defy gravity.

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10. Marseille Vieux Port Pavilion by Foster + Partners

This pavilion by Foster + Partners, has been installed at Marseille’s Vieux Port as part of a regeneration plan aiming to get more pedestrian traffic to the World Heritage-listed site.

The point of the mirrored elements is to provide a covered space without interfering too much with the spectacular visuals of the Mediterranean port. The reflective nature of the construction helps to emphasise the surroundings above the architecture.

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