People always say you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. That might be true, but you can certainly fit a round room in a square frame. All it takes is a little visual trickery.
Minax Architects used a simple optical illusion to make a rectangular room in Shanghai’s One Teahouse to appear as an oval. To do so, they attached 999 sticks of different lengths to the chipboard walls and ceiling. Starting in the middle and working outward at equal intervals, the sticks create a mirrored cocoon effect that totally changes the shape of the space.
The clever woodworking is all the more impactful because of the room’s dedication to unexpected use of shape. A single round window casts a warm glow on the light wood, giving it a vortex-like feel. A rectangular door leads visitors out of room and back into right-angled reality.