Dutch Artists Ask Residents About Their Favorite Books, Then Paint a Huge Bookcase on Their Building

Photo Credit: Facebook

An extraordinary building stands in the Dutch city of Utrecht, made extraordinary by the mural that two Dutch artists have painted on its side.  I know what you’re thinking: plenty of buildings all over the world are painted with murals.

But this one is particularly unusual.


Jan Is De Man and Deef Feed are the talented team behind this community bookcase project. It all started when friends of Jan Is De Man asked him for a big smiley face mural for their building. But he didn’t feel that the idea, although friendly and positive, was weighty enough.

After some thought and study, inspiration for a bookshelf of residents’ literary favorites began to emerge from the building’s exterior wall.


The mural was done with the technique of trompe l’oeil, French for “deceive the eye.” In painting, using trompe l’oeil gives an object a 3-dimensional quality for added realism.

And it works – the artists’ giant bookshelf looks as if one of the novels could actually be pulled out for reading.

But what we really want to know is, who chose Playboy as a favorite book?

Jan Is De Man invited all the residents to submit their favorite titles. Except for religious and political titles, no book was off limits.

Though large, the whole creation took one week to paint.


The neighborhood surrounding the building is a diverse one, and many people come by to take photos and end up in conversation about the mural or books or whatever is on their minds. Usually, they leave with a smile.


As for Jan Is De Man, he has other projects in the works. Follow his amazing talent on social media to see where he pops up next!