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LEAPscape kaleidoscope by STUFISH, Riyadh
Photograph: STUFISH

You can now step inside the world’s largest kaleidoscope in Saudi Arabia

LEAPscape in Riyadh aims to mimic the country’s dazzling natural landscapes

Ed Cunningham
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Ed Cunningham
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Kaleidoscopes don’t really have a purpose. Made out of a series of reflected surfaces, all tilted at a certain angle so that they repeat symmetrical patterns, they’re mostly used as toys. What they do do, however, is make beautifully weird, sparkly illusions. Which makes them pretty bloomin’ cool.

So what could be cooler than they world’s largest kaleidoscope? Stufish, an architecture firm that specialises in stage design, has installed a six-metre-high, 40-metre-long ‘scope at the 2022 LEAP technology conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It’s called LEAPscape, and makes for one wildly trippy experience. Just take a look these pics:

LEAPscape kaleidoscope by STUFISH, Riyadh
Photograph: STUFISH
LEAPscape kaleidoscope by STUFISH, Riyadh
Photograph: STUFISH
LEAPscape kaleidoscope by STUFISH, Riyadh
Photograph: STUFISH

LEAPscape is made out of LED tiles and a special kind of shiny foil. The tiles, which cover both the floor and the end of the tunnel, show images of landscapes from throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Images of skies, stars and the sea then combine with reflections of people inside the kaleidoscope, producing an army of clones, all illuminated in really, really bright light.

As you can imagine, walking down a whopping big immersive tunnel full of constantly flashing LEDs can feel a bit intense and even headache-inducing. But Stufish has taken that into account. While LEAPscape is obviously pretty full-on, the lights are programmed with periods of rest and stability, and the transitions are designed to be not that aggressive. In short, it shouldn’t make you lose your mind.

And if you don’t fancy trekking all the way to Riyadh, don’t fear. Stufish is rumoured to be building similar structures around the world, set to be unveiled sometime this year.

Did you see that the world’s largest permanent artwork could soon be built in the UAE desert?

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