The New York Times recently sat down with longtime Jack Spade collaborator and architect Steven Sclaroff for a Q&A.
Dazzle camouflage was invented by an artist and British naval officer named Norman Wilkinson. His advice was that the British Navy should take a cue from zebras. Their contrasting diagonal stripes are confusing for predators. And Wilkinson figured that if this discombobulated lions, it could throw-off German submarines.
So the Navy went ahead and painted their fleet with a jumble of jagged geometric shapes. The craziest part? Dazzle camouflage actually worked. It obviously made the boats a lot more visible, but it also made them difficult for U-Boats to target while in motion. The camouflage’s influence can still be seen today in modern disruptive patterns, like the Swedish M90.