Deceiving Designs  

By Fleur Chattillon

Flowers growing out of a table and a rabbit in the living room? These are not things you see every day, but actually, why not? In the world of interior design and home decor, the sky is the limit, that is why a lamp can look like it’s a cloud in the sky. Unique, playful, or seemingly impossible are words in the dictionary of a designer. Just like Art, interior design has always been a reflection of the time we live in. Visual illusions also reign high in our new design world. Dive in and take a look at some of the most irreverent deceiving designs out there.

Starting in the 70s there are a lot of irreverent designs that will deceive us into thinking it’s something else. Often things like flowers, plants, or even weather are sources of ideas for these designs.

Like this enormous cactus growing inside the house. By the looks of it, it must be, but you might be fooled. It’s a coat hanger, Designed in 1972 by Guido Drocco and Franco Mello. 

Cactus from Gufram, designed by Guido Drocco and Franco Mello

Merdolino Toilet Brush from design company Alessi

The nature-inspired trend goes on with this unique-looking and permanently alive plant. But it is in fact, a toilet brush hidden in disguise. The well-known Merdolino Toilet Brush for design company Alessi is one of the most successful examples of the playful cartoon language typical of Stefano Giovannoni’s 1990s projects.

Besides the fact that designers turn coathangers into a cactus or a toilet brush into a potted plant, there is something else going on In the world of design. For the last 20 years, most of the interior designs were very minimalistic and in calm colours of coffee cream tan and beige. They were seen as clean cosy and minimal. But that is all changing, design goes forward whilst nodding to the past; a colourful irreverent story.

Memphis group, Divider. Picture from

Just like the Memphis group back in the 80s, a group of designers focused on postmodern, colourful, and abstract decoration as well as asymmetrical shapes brought back playful designs. Today we see that happening again. Not only with the deceiving designs looking like animals and food, but also with the use of many colours, materials, patterns, and shapes.

Rabbit chair from Qeeboo, designed by Stefano Giovannoni in 2016

There is a rabbit in the house well, maybe not a real one. ‘Rabbit’ is one of product designer Stefano Giovannoni’s ‘hat tricks’ collection. The chair immediately became a pop icon. A Rabbit is also a symbol of love and fertility, which brings good luck and good wishes. This symbolic meaning comes from the Japanese culture and it symbolizes fertility in European culture because it’s a springtime animal. ‎

Blooming pansies from the brand Loewe designed by Joe Brainard in 2021

The brand Loewe has been designing innovative pieces since 1846, and now, inspired by the work of Joe Brainard, they made this blooming pansy tray that has been constructed by artisans in Spain from leather in various colour tones; leather being a cornerstone of the brand.

But besides items that look like they come straight out of the forest, designers often use food as inspiration and turn them into unique pieces of furniture.

Varmblixt doughnut lamp from Ikea designed by Sabine Marcelis in 2023

Like this perfect round and glazed doughnut, which is a table or wall lamp, designed by a Dutch designer named Sabine Marcelis working together with Ikea.

The brand Gie EL Unveils used a cloudy sky as inspiration for their Latest piece: Sculptural Lamps Breaking the Mold. Maria and Jacek Rypuła, the masterminds behind the brand, pushed the boundaries of lighting design by prioritizing form over function.

Lamp from Gie EL Unveils, MESH collection 2023

But not all designs are as deceiving and irreverent as a rabbit chair or cloud lamp, they can also just be fun and brighten up your interior.

Trevor dining chair from Bohinc Studio 2023

This dining chair designed by Bohinc studio makes a perfect accompaniment for the tea room. Its round spheres formed backrests and armrests, floating on thin metal rods, just like bonbons speared on cocktail sticks. Almost frog-like in appearance, the chairs take the form of a friendly creature with a big mouth and bug eyes.

SowdenLights, The Shades collection designed by George Sowden 2023

These candy-toned lamps almost look like plates. SowdenLight is the dynamic new lighting brand of designer George Sowden and his team. The lamps are made of a nontoxic material that stands up to impact and conserves its aesthetic qualities without ever showing signs of ageing. The Shades collection was designed to give life to this new material use.

It is safe to say we can expect many more colourful, playful, and deceiving designs in the world of interior and home decor. Why? Because they bring us joy, and now more than ever we need that.

If you enjoyed reading Deceiving designs why not read Visually coded

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