pezo von ellrichshausen + felice varini transform trinity square into an optical illusion

pezo von ellrichshausen + felice varini transform trinity square into an optical illusion

chile-based architects pezo von ellrichshausen in collaboration with swiss artist felice varini have created an ambitious structure responding to the historic heart of hull, a city in northern england. the design encourages locals to experience their city in new and memorable ways and seeks to become a focal point for national and international tourists. the installation provides visitors with a range of different vistas of trinity square as they enter each of the six meter high columns, which open to the sky.

aerial view of ‘a hall for hull’


perforations across the columns’ frosted steel façade create a delicate interplay of light and shadow across the interiors of each occupiable space. visual and physical contradictions merge as visitors first encounter a series of imposing, static steel columns from a distance. however, as they move closer, the perforations create a feeling of lightness. pezo von ellrichshausen’s playful optical illusions continue with an artwork applied by acclaimed artist felice varini. through his practice of op-art, varini has created three delicate, hand-drawn artworks across the columns that distort and redefine the otherwise rigid geometry of their solid arrangement, challenging perceptions of perspective and scale in this particular public setting.

the piece activates multiple perspectives of a historically-charged public square



each artwork aligns from a different viewpoint across hull’s trinity square, encouraging visitors to meander through the columns, leaving the view of the central axis of the church’s nave untouched. pezo von ellrichshausen’s practice, which oscillates between art and architecture, forms a complementary relationship with varini work. this combination serves to redefine and activate multiple perspectives of a historically-charged public square through a series of experiences as visitors walk around the installation.

felice varini’s artwork creates unusual perspective



‘this installation forms a temporary hypostyle room without a roof, with massive but almost immaterial columns barely open to the sky and to the immediate surroundings,’ explain architects mauricio pezo and sofia von ellrichshausen. ‘the empty stone-paved square is challenged by the size and disposition of a regular open grid and each column (two meters wide and six meters high) is in fact an inhabitable room with a single entrance pointed to a different direction. the silent vibration of glimmering lights and shadows, together with the very indifference of the grid, is altered by three delicate motives drawn in the air by varini, which can only be seen towards precise vanishing points.’

a hall for hull is a joint commission from RIBA and hull UK city of culture 2017

the empty stone-paved square is challenged by the size and disposition of a regular open grid

each artwork aligns from a different viewpoint across trinity square

the perforations make the installation appear lightweight

the installation alongside its context

sunlight pierces through the installation

the pillars reflected in pools of water

the columns can be occupied by passersby

early concept art



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lynn chaya | designboom







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