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Understanding the design of cities is all about scale. Take these tiles, for instance, that let you lord over your very own urban universe, right from the comfort of a home kitchen or bathroom – they look like concrete, cork or slate from a distance due to their texture, but up close they reveal a winding cityscape.

The simple, figure/ground approach used by designer/manufacturer LEA Ceramiche divides open spaces and solids into two tones, and then adds a touch of three-dimensionality by raising the roofs up. This creates both a fascinating lighting effect but also invites interaction – it is too tempting to pass up running your fingers along the rippled ceramic surface.

While the textured versions are intended for walls (their floor variations are smooth-finished), it would be interesting to know how well they would work for flooring – one could imagine that the texture on your toes would be an interesting one. Regardless, this would be particularly useful for large surface areas in sizable rooms – you would lose out on the long-distance view morphing into a close-up understanding if you installed these in too small a space.