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House-Ghost in California Desert

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American artist Phillip K. Smith III developed Lucid Stead installation, adding mirrors on the walls of an abandoned cabin in the desert of California. The installation aims create the illusion that you can see right through the building.

“Transparent House” in California Desert by Phillip K. Smith III

Lucid Stead installation in  Mojave Desert, California by Phillip K. Smith III

Lucid Stead installation in  Mojave Desert, California by Phillip K. Smith III 

In 2004 the architect bought a land with an old shack, which stood in the sands of the Mojave Desert for 70 years, and breathed new life into it. The designer arrived in Joshua Tree in mid-October to showcase his work.

The project is called Lucid Stead. Smith mounted mirrors in a leaky shack to create the illusion effect. And in order to make the house look magnificent in the dark, the artist provided his window and door openings with LEDs. LED lighting is controlled with a computer program. The wall structure consists of alternating mirror strips and planks. In the daylight the house looks as if it does not have without intermediate supports, and the roof and boards are suspended in the air. Nevertheless, the “transparent house” has the shadow, which reinforces the effect of its mystery.

At night large colorful panels flare up in the windows and doors of the shack. It changes shades of light during the whole night, thereby creating different lighting scenes. Soft white light illuminates the inside of the hut, highlighting the gap between the boards and mirrored panels, and allows you to see diagonal braces that support the internal structure of the building.

Lucid Stead allows you to fully enjoy the silence and feel that pace at which the desert changes its appearance during the day and night.

Initially it was assumed that 2 days will be enough for demonstration of the installation. However, the news of this event spread throughout North America. And dozens of tourists from New York and Canada flown to look at a transparent cabin.

Phillip K. Smith III revived the desert landscape and emphasized the nudity of the wasteland, using mirrors, LED lamps and wood. According to Phillip, he just wanted to show the interaction of light, shadows and reflections.


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Alicia Kim

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