Illusion Spinner

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Illusion Spinner

MoMA Design Store Catalog

MFA Products of Design x MoMA 2015.

Mentorship & Guidance

Allan Chochinov & Sinclair Scott Smith

Director of Photography

TJ Boegle

Special Thanks

Francisco Gomez Gallardo, Maria del Mar Gomez Castillo, Pilar Gomez Castillo, Antonio de la Hera Gomez, Christos and Yannis Dimitroulas, Christian Jakenfelds, Maximo Hernandez Sanz, David Caruda, Dr. Andrew Dent, Gabrielle Zola, Chay Costello, The Museum of Modern Art, MFA Products of Design, Class of 2015 and 2016 & The Visible Futures Lab

Bring a sense of wonder to your desktop as you stimulate your brain with this irresistible rotating paperweight. Spinning this illusion device creates a mesmerizing effect that is both calming and addictive. Made of unglazed bone china with a ball-bearing spinning mechanism.

The Illusion Spinner was designed by Oscar de la Hera Gomez for MoMA’s collaboration with the School of Visual Art’s Products of Design MFA program. de la Hera Gomez devised this intricate design through mathematical and spatial analysis to morph from an orderly gridded pattern to a dynamic swirling motif when in motion.

- 2017 MoMA Design Store Catalogue.

During Spring 2015, when Oscar was creating products for the partnership between the MFA Products of Design and the Museum of Modern Art, Oscar found himself daunted by the challenge of producing meaningful products. Although he had studied the Museum's catalog and produced products which he felt matched the desired aesthetic and functionality, things felt out of place.
Everything from product to the surrounding environment felt too serious, constrained and tense. There was a lack of whimsical joy, wonder or as the Spanish would say, a lack of Illusion. Thus, on a late night in the studio, Oscar decided to make a product for the sake of it. He needed something that wasn’t going to be pitched, or aimed at success. He needed something “stupid” that would retrieve illusion and help him with his process.
Glaring at Rota, a cone-shaped, rotating pencil holder, Oscar began to wonder what would happen if he implemented a spiral into the design. A spinning spiral seemed like a no-brainer, it was engaging and could immerse an individual for periods at a time. However, what attracted him the most was the idea that of being able to control how the spiral spun. This functionality felt extremely playful and empowering.
Shortly after producing this piece, Oscar noticed that the spinner was never on his desk. It was always in someone's hand, or someone's desk helping them as they work. This moment led to a conversation with Designer Judy Chi, who enthusiastically told Oscar “I can see a child playing with this endlessly, or someone playing with it as they’re on the phone or working. You have to pitch it.”
In awe as to what happened, Oscar dug deeper wishing to discover the product’s essence. As it turns out, the rotating spiral is linked to Hypnosis, which is known to induct a deeply relaxed state, can suspend your critical faculties and thus, temporarily stop you from thinking. This suspension is associated with neural activity in the Default Mode Network or Resting State Network, which is in charge of processing reflective thoughts of yourself, spatial ideas, and visual information and result in Eureka! Moments.

Impulsed by a feedback from a successful initial pitch to the museum and advice from his mentors, Allan Chochinov and Sinclair Scott Smith, Oscar was challenged with elevating the design of the Illusion Spinner. In particular, he wanted to inject the essence from the research into the design and through 100 iterations, Oscar would explore, develop and test designs associated to creativity, the cosmos and spirituality.


The result of this adventure is the Illusion Spinner, a tactile experience that invites you to disconnect through interaction. The Illusion uses a mesmerizing design that morphs from an orderly gridded pattern to a divergent, swirling motif when in motion. This effect, which is achieved through engraving on the spinner’s bone-china surface, which aims to incite a hypnotic effect intended to disconnect you with the purpose of reconnecting with a renewed sense of joy, hope and thus, Illusion.