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By on April 14, 2008, with 30 Comments

Floor tiles in this photo give an impression they are somehow three dimensional. I would have hard time living in a place where looking at those would be my every-day reality. But the real illusion is not the 3d effect the boxes produce, no – the floor sample is one of the most famous optical illusions of all time. Originally implemented at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, the pattern not only creates an illusion of three-dimensional boxes, but each person sees it differently.

For example: if we take lighter (white) side of the “box”, we can understand it as upper facet of the box (or top cover). This way our floor tile sample gives an impression of some kind of pyramidal steps. If it were really 3d, you could step only on white surfaces (diamonds), while brown sides would be considered “legs” of the box. Think of it like this: white surfaces equal table tops, while brown surfaces equal legs of the table. But the floor tiles can also be interpreted differently: what if the white facet now considered supporting leg, and two brown sides represent the top cover of the box (like roof on the house). In this case, you’d only be able to step on the twisted brown roofs. Hope all this babbling made any sense. I have also included photos of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, where the floor sample originally originates from. Some say that the sample is implementation of Escher’s work. I’m not quite sure of this.

Three Dimensional Floor Tiles Illusion
Three Dimensional Floor Tiles Illusion
Three Dimensional Floor Tiles Illusion
Three Dimensional Floor Tiles Illusion
Three Dimensional Floor Tiles Illusion
Three Dimensional Floor Tiles Illusion


30 Responses
  1. Anonymous says:

    The first and second picture don’t look believable to me, but the third one looks pretty realistic.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Subtle, but nice

  3. Alexi Akl says:

    wow, the first one is amazing, I’m able to see it as a 3D floor and as a normal 2D floor. the first one is the most impressive one.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I can’t belive it!
    This is a really cool illusion!
    I luv the 1st one!


  5. Anonymous says:

    i think that all of them are cool, but i like the 5th one.

    ~nice illusions

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree with #5, and theres even something like this in HK, Tsim sha shui!!!

  7. Cat says:

    the second one is my favorite even though no one else likes it… look at it carefully, its different than the others… if you look carefully, the white and grey tiles look like separate lines underneath the black diamonds/squares

    seee it?

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is exactly the kind of flooring i have in my hall..it was pretty expensive to get the different colured marbles to get the 3D effect..also very skilled craftmanship

  9. Cheese says:

    awesome illusions. i like the last one cuz it looks a lot like it’s on a hill.

  10. Anonymous says:

    i dont like most of them cause they are pictures…
    doesn’t it wonder what it would be like if it was 3-D

    holy crap that would be scray!!


  11. Daniela says:

    I agree with Cat. On the second picture i couldn’t find the 2-d effect and after lookin for awhile i found gray and black lines goin through the picture from the top right corner to the lower left corner and rows of black diamonds goin from top left corner to lower right corner. Ur going to have to tilt your head to the right and to the left to see wut I’m talkin about.

  12. Kev says:

    Cool illusion! Would love a floor like that in our kitchen. Love the site, keep on doing what you do best!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Have.. to..get…to….TOP!!!
    lol this is a great illusion
    great site btw

  14. Anonymous says:

    COOL ilusions!!! That last one is the best. looks like it’s on a slope! So cool. LOVE IT!!!!

  15. Woofymoo says:

    Imagine having them on stairs! So that they faced where you are going to see them best.

    I’d be tripping all over the place.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Wheres Q-Bert?

  17. CareBear says:

    As if I don’t trip enough on a regular floor.

  18. breanna says:

    ha! lol.

  19. sam says:

    They live in Q-bert land O_o

  20. Dug says:

    OK. I may be looking too hard here. But, it looks like the one on the top has boxes that change in size on certain sides on one side of the room compared to the other. Am I seeing things? It just doesnt look totally square if you look at any edge of the floor. Like its skewed intentionally.

  21. coolio says:

    I just wanted to say that this is the best website ever..i am bored to death all the time & just staring at these illusions make me hypnotized and i feel so great

    this illusion i have actually stood on these types of carpets and from the points of veiws in these photos they look 3d but when you are standing on them they are just don’t look amusing

  22. Ka'ena Higa says:

    If you scroll up and down on the last picture, it looks like the floor is moving.

  23. Diana says:

    i couldnt figure out 5th one!!!

  24. dddrum says:

    Great pattern. Could stare at it for hours. In fact, I think I have been. (LOL)

    Umm… if you scroll up and down on ANYTHING, it looks like it’s moving! Here, try it on this comment…


  25. Giovani says:

    Love it

  26. baljeet singh says:

    Dear, How can I contact from these persons? I want to use this art in my Office


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