Presenting the Dazzle Room. An immersive puzzle room for the awesome guys at The Great Escape. When asked to create a room for them I saw it as an amazing opportunity to create something completely immersive and engaging. For those of you who don’t know what an escape game is, it is generally a themed room for groups of 2 – 6 players, filled with codes and clues with which the players have to solve in order to escape. The beauty of their games is they blindfold the players first and lead them into the rooms, positioning them at specific points (often handcuffed and padlocked in). This posed a unique opportunity for myself for using the anamorphic technique to create optical illusions. Having created anamorphic art in public situations a number of times now, I’ve found it can be pretty hard for people to find the viewpoint, so if players are walked in blindfolded then positioned in those specific viewpoints, the illusion should be right there in front of them when they take the blindfold off.
The idea for an optical illusion room came from previous work and study into Dazzle Camouflage. Developed in WW1 for the concealment of naval ships, the idea behind dazzle camouflage was to distort the perspective of an object through the painting of complex patterns of geometric shapes, interrupting and intersecting each other. With this in mind I thought about how together with perspective anamorphosis, the shape and perspective of a room could be altered, giving the illusion it is larger than it actually is, for example.
That is how the first corner effect was created, giving the illusion a corridor is present when in reality there is just a flat wall. The second corner was a continuation from the first, using similar intersecting shapes but on a more vertical perspective. I had it in mind that each corner would be a different experience for each player. So the third and fourth corners contrast somewhat and focus more on optical illusions. I had wanted to paint isometric cubes like this for a while now, and love the effect of a floating “Iso wall”. The final corner came from experimenting with isometric cubes and the shape of their silhouette, a hexagon. I found creating contrasting concentric hexagons had quite an optical effect. And when painted anamorphically, on the ceiling and floor as well as two perpendicular walls, it had even more of an effect.