Early in 2013, I began to advocate for the reflective surface as an 8th element of design for interior and exterior spaces.  Where the reflective surface, a mirror, polished metal, clear glass, or water should be inclusive as an 8th element; co-joining the 7 established elements of design, line, shape, space, value, form , texture, and color; accepting the reflective surface as a standard design tool for utilizing function and form in an interior and or exterior living space. Please see here my petition for an additional archetypal element of design…an 8th element, the reflective surface.  

    Reflection is an inherent / integral element of design woven into the balance of nature itself. How does the human eye perceive the world, how we feel and experience the natural world inclusive of the reflective surface?  Sight, the first of the five senses allows perception by way of a ray of light / electrons reflecting from an object, back onto the retina of the eye and further back onto the occipital lobe of the brain where the object is  processed into shape and form.  Most humans perceive the world with five senses although, proportional relationships of organic & inorganic things are innately and most often understood by sight. We recognize objects and associate this recognition with reason, recognizing an object or thing by way of its form and function, our human form for instance has a reciprocal mathematical balance of all organic & inorganic things on earth.   Physical matter joined in a cohesive bond of dinergy, an across, through and opposing composition of shape and form, each object held together by the physical forces of our universe. Energy from our nearest galaxy, our solar system, our sun, earth, fuels and bonds this dinergy, the motion of life.  Our human physic responds and connects with this natural balance of the “golden mean” or pi / 2.236.  Humans have emulated this balance of the natural world in their lives from the beginning of time, the choice, arrangement and design of the landscape and objects we live with, we want form and function to agree with the natural world and its mathematical balance.

 We have an innate need for order and organization of these objects, understanding their purpose or utility by arranging them in a way that reflects the natural world.  

We utilize objects of utility for practical and also aesthetic purposes’.  Line and curved shape, depth or space, value, form, texture, and color are primary elements in nature and we feel comfortable and safe living in an environment where these natural primary elements are present.  From the time of Galileo, our ability to reason and discover new methods of living evolved, humanity advanced through several periods of innovative discovery since the renaissance.  Moving forward we referenced the past,  a guidepost to navigate the future, new aesthetic models of formal design were developed in the late 19th century where this new philosophy of design drew influence from ancient designs.  The Celts incorporated nature into the design of jewelry and objects of utility and Art Nouveau nurtured these new ideas to the forefront of art and design based on the natural world. Balanced synergetic formation of all organic and inorganic matter born and nurtured by way of the electron. During the late 19th century inclusive of these new ideas of “natures way”, the world of art and design included the reflective surface, a plate glass panel coated on one side with silver and when viewing the glass from the front or, the opposite side of the silvered glass we could see our reflection. This reflective surface is a plate glass mirror, we are able to see our own image in highly polished metal or, a still pool of water. Humans have long since known the reflective surface of mirror emulates reflection in water, still pools of dark water. Seeing our image and considering the reflection of ones’ self, or an adjacent landscape in natures own design, allowed for a deeper connection to the environment and perhaps a consciousness of “self-reflection”. 

The placement of glass and or a reflective surface in a modern design scheme for interior or exterior spaces expands and opens the space. The reflective surface allows the interior space to appear larger and reflect objects in the space. The exterior of a building sheathed in window panes of glass also allows for the building to appear larger as the reflected light enhances other objects or natural phenomena in the surface of the glass.  Personal and private revelations are found in a mirrored surface, when our physical appearance is presented, we make adjustments of apparel, hair or skin and are allowed to feel or experience the past, present and future about ourselves and the world around us. A mirrored glass surface provides a sort of “through the looking glass” experience, inner reflection and emotion by way of ones’ physical reflection produced by a reflective surface. 

So, we now come to beg the question…. If a plate glass reflects both physical form and the minds eye, is a mirror only an object of physical reflection?  Not to consider the aesthetics of what is reflected, although only used for various convenience and purpose, function and form?  The question for any formal design where an object of utility incorporated into a design plan might be answered; is this reflective object an essential element of the plan?  The effect in the case of a reflective surface should be the cause, where a singular object although may have some if not most of the 7 elements of design and considered complete in itself and in most cases art, an interior or exterior space and generally require each of the 7 elements composed of several parts to be considered complete, a working functional nature influenced composition. Good design must have a cohesive function and should possess the 7 elements of design, although where compositions of interior or exterior design include various materials, shapes and functions, inclusive should be an 8th element, an element of reflection. 

My work with plate glass mirror / Eglomise’ with Reflective Elements is often mentioned as “a mirror”. I consider the glass as a canvas and the silver reflective coating color. Utilizing the reflective coating as a material  element within the composition, the final outcome rarely resembles only a mirror as we understand it, the reflective surface of the mirror becomes something else! My process of “adjusting” the reflective silver coating leaves a much smaller percentage of the silver remaining relative to the overall size of the plate glass composition. An accent of the reflective silver-color, where the total area ceases to become a mirrored surface, the mirror becomes an object of art.  A portal to a physical and etherial world behind the looking glass and the presence of this idea has been in our minds for a very long time: Proverbs 27:19 “As water reflects the face, so ones life reflects the heart.”

Note: Additional ideas “reflecting” and expanding the idea of the reflective surface as an 8th element of design will post on my website / blog monthly.

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