The Beauty Beneath: Ceramic Tile Illusion on Electric Box

The ugly banality of a worn beige electrical box in a Lisbon plaza seems to give way to colorful ceramic tiles hidden beneath, the paint cracking and peeling to reveal a glimpse traditional Portuguese patterns. Street artist Diogo Machado (known as Add Fuel) completed this optical illusion as part of the Trampolins Gerador project, which aims to revitalize the city through urban art, performance, music and other interventions.

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The work is a continuation of Machado’s Ceramic series combining contemporary street art with Portuguese ‘azulejo,’ tile patterns that have been a part of the country’s history for centuries. The artist often collaborates with other street artists to fuse these decorative historic details with other styles, bringing them to the city streets in a new way.

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Electrical boxes, substations, bathrooms and other less-than-aesthetically-pleasing elements found on city streets are generally eyesores, making them an ideal canvas for imaginative transformations.

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Street artist EVOL turns them into tiny buildings, while Dutch designer Roeland Otten disguises them by blending them into their environments.