A mirrored building modelled on a ranch-style suburban American house has been created in the Southern Californian desert for the Desert X art festival.

Built by American artist Doug Aitken in the desert outside Palm Springs, the small house-shaped structure is clad top-to-bottom in mirrors, with the mirrored surfaces reflecting the surroundings and camouflaging the structure.

The Mirage sculpture, which is one of 16 artworks installed across the arid landscape of the Coachella Valley, takes inspiration from the modernist ideas of architect Frank Lloyd Wright - the style was developed in the region by a group of architects in the 1920s and 1930s.


According to Aitken, the ranch style's streamlined simplicity gained popularity after World War II, as commercial builders employed an assembly line approach to create this efficient form. This style quickly filled up the American landscape with the mass-produced ranch home becoming a familiar sight across the country.

Aitken has gone a step further, reconfiguring the suburban home concept by removing its inhabitants and their possessions, and doing away with the doors and windows, and any semblance of privacy or security. The mirrored surfaces on the inside evoke confusion rather than comfort.

The Desert X art festival is currently open and will run until 30 April 2017; Aitken's Mirage will remain in place until 31 October 2017.


Photography by Lance Gerber, courtesy of Doug Aitken, the artist and Desert X