The Thing: Our fascination with objects that aren’t what they seem

The Thing: Our fascination with objects that aren’t what they seem

Laser-etched 4’x6’ faux wood rug, $2,600. Hollace Cluny, 1070 Yonge St., 416-968-7894 (Images: Natasha V) 

Giggle-inducing trompe l’oeil knick-knacks have infiltrated curio shops all over the city lately (see the Drake Hotel General Store, Bergo, Up to You, Rolo). Hence the nostalgia-inducing cassette tape that turns out to be an iPhone case, the tea towel designed to mimic loose-leaf paper, and that ubiquitous white ceramic mug that looks like a Styrofoam takeout coffee cup. This season, the phenomenon has spread beyond novelty gifts and inspired both high fashion and home decor. A playful, laser-etched rug by Toronto design studio Moss and Lam is expensive cowhide made to look like old-fashioned wood-grain floorboards—the ultimate union of familiar and surreal, rustic and glam.