Strange Lenses distort the faces of pedestrians. The lenses facilitate interactions that make strangers into friends and reduce the anonymous nature of urban environments. It was recently awarded a civic grant to be developed into a two-year public art installation on the streets of San Francisco. 


Our Funky Lenses

Many Eyes Lens

Big Chin Lens

Tiny Head Lens

Balloon Head Lens

Square Head Lens

Big Eyes Lens

Balloon Head Lens II

Mouth as Eyes Lens

Exhibition History

Current Exhibitions

Past Exhibitions

Selected Press


With digital fabrication technology, it’s easier to design and manufacture lenses than ever before. We developed a fabrication process makes it easy to prototype optical designs.

Read our Instructable for a more in-depth look at our process.


It’s not always easy to predict how a given lens will distort an image. To make prototyping easier, we employed ray-tracing software to see how our lenses might distort once fabricated.

Our process uses Autodesk T-Splines to create lens geometry, and visualized its effects using Rhinocerous3D and the Neon raytracing renderer. With this technique, we were able to create lenses that achieve a desired effect.


Initially, we used the Objet 3D printers at Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop to manufacture the lenses. They were printed with VeroClear resin to achieve transparency. All of the new lenses are milled out of acrylic plastic on a 3-axis CNC router. We are exploring casting lenses in elastic silicone rubber.

After printing or milling, all of the lenses were sanded and polished to optical clarity during a 10-hour manual process.