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Five clever pieces to add flights of fancy to your home decor

With optical illusions and smart uses of materials, designers are playing with the notion of ephemerality to add dynamism and wit to living spaces

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A chair caught in mid-melt: It’s hard to tell whether Viennese designer Philipp Aduatz’s chrome Melting Chair is in the process of forming together (like the demonic villain, T-1000, from Terminator 2) or about to pool on the ground like a blob of mercury. The seat is made from a special mirrored coating that is also scratch-resistant (so you can sit on it safely without worrying about scuff marks). philippaduatz.com.

Philipp Aduatz

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Time told in shadows: Clocks, by their very nature, are in a perpetual state of change. Porro’s Sundial timepiece not only expresses inconstancy with its ever-moving arms; the numbers on its face shift constantly too. The digits are actually cast shadows, so grow and shrink depending on the amount of ambient light. porro.com.

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The swirl of a dancer’s skirt: Hive Design’s billowing pendant light is called the Fandango, so named because it captures the energy and flow of a Spanish dancer’s skirt. The gossamer cotton petals, stretched over a supple wire frame, can be twisted and shaped into any desired curve, so the lamp’s appearance is anything but static. designbyhive.com.

Hive Design

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From thrift store to art: The Bipolar Pendants by Montreal designer Tat Chao are a playful twist on the idea of ephemerality in design. Not only do his LED lights look a bit like an icicle mid-thaw, they are also made from something highly disposable. Broken, thrift-store wine glasses are sandblasted and attached with a metal band, elevating them from something trash-bound to the level of art. tatchao.com.

Tat Chao

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Soap sculpture made glass: When famed Swiss architect Peter Zumthor made the first prototypes of his Cruet and Castor set for Alessi, he used glycerin soap. The final five forms – used for salt, pepper, oils and dressings – are cast in a smoky crystal glass, a material that retains the same translucent look of the original transient models. alessi.com.

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