FreelandBuck craft a temporary trompe l’oeil ceiling for the Smithsonian

The Los Angeles-based studio FreelandBuck has been selected to design and install a temporary ceiling in the Renwick Gallery’s Grand Salon in the Smithsonian, the first in what is expected to be a recurring installation series called Above the Renwick Installation. Their project draws on the tradition of trompe l’oeil ceilings, using various techniques to create an illusion of depth. The design comprises a “catalog” of various notable American architectural styles, brought to life with 21st century technology. “Trompe l’oeil illusion functions from a single key point – the center of a nave or directly under a dome,” the write. “From other points of view, the illusion malfunctions: figures appear suddenly out of scale, space flattens out, or an entire dome seems to change orientation. Given the constant stream of visual illusion we encounter every day, the glitches may now fascinate more than the intended illusion. The Renwick installation amplifies coordinates these gaps, opening ...

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