Physical Reflection, the 8th Element of Design: Timothy Poe, July 16, 2021
Early in 2013, I began advocating for the reflective surface of a plate glass mirror and other reflective objects as an 8th element of design incorporated into residential and publics spaces. Specifically, a reflective surface, 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; Advocating the reflective surface as a standard design tool incorporating / utilizing function and form in an interior and or exterior space should become a practicing standard for design and art education. Please see the following petition for an additional archetypal element of design…an 8th element, the reflective surface.
Physical reflection is an inherent / integral element of design woven into the balance of nature itself. How does the human eye perceive and reflect the natural world, what we feel and experience when the natural world is inclusive of the reflective surface? Sight is the first of the five senses, vision through the eye allows perception by way of rays 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 receive this recognition with associative reason, recognizing an object or thing by way of its form and perceiving its function, our human form for instance, has a reciprocal mathematical balance of the natural world. Physical matter reflects a cohesive balance of Dinergy, an across, through and opposing matrix of shape and form, each object held together by the physical forces of the universe. Energy from our nearest galaxy, our solar system, our sun, earth, fuels and bonds this Dinergy, the Landscape of life and the human physic responds and connects with this natural balance of the “golden mean” or Phi / 1.6. 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 and we want form to follow function, to agree with the Mosaic of the natural world and its mathematical balance. We have an innate need for order, organization of these objects, understanding the purpose or utility by arranging them in a way that physically 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, color and Physical Reflection 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 nineteenth century where this new philosophy of design offered influence forward from ancient designs. The Celts Reflected 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 would see our Reflection. With Physical Reflective surfaces, a plate glass mirror, highly polished metal or, a still pool of water we are able to see our own image . Humans have long since known the Physical Reflective surface of a plate glass mirror emulates Reflection in water, still pools of dark water. Seeing our image and considering the Physical 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 Physically Reflective surface in a modern design scheme for interior or exterior spaces expands and opens the space. The Physically 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 the surface of a mirrored, when our physical appearance is presented, we make adjustments to apparel, hair, skin and are allowed to feel or experience the past, present and future about ourselves and the world around us. A silvered glass surface provides a “through the looking glass” experience. Philosophical Reflection and emotional reasoning are by way of the Physical Reflection produced by a Reflective surface.
So now begging the question? If a plate glass mirror reflects physical form in the minds eye, is a mirror only an object of Physical Reflection? Not to consider the physical and philosophical aesthetic reasoning of what is being Reflected? Although only used for various convenience and purpose, function and form? The question for any form of formal design is, wherein 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 Physically Reflective surface should also be the cause, where a singular object or several objects incorporated into a planned design may have some if not most of the 7 elements of design is considered complete in itself? In most cases, an interior or exterior space generally require each of the 7 elements composed of several mediums 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 Physical Reflection.
My work with plate glass mirror / Eglomise’ with Reflective Elements is often mentioned as “a mirror”. I consider the plate glass as canvas and the silver Reflective coating a medium of 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 full area of the Reflective surface of the mirror becomes something other than a flat Reflective surface! My process of “adjusting” the Reflective silver coating leaves a much smaller percentage of the silver remaining relative to the overall percentage of a Reflective plate glass panel of any size. A reduced percentage, or only an accent of the Reflective silver / color, where the total area of the plate glass panel ceases to become only a mirrored surface, the mirror becomes an object of introspection and study, e.g. an object of art. These objects of Eglomise’ w Reflective Elements are portals to a physical and etherial world, a behind the looking glass experience and the presence of this idea has been in the forefront our minds from the beginning of our time on this planet as human beings: Proverbs 27:19 “As water reflects the face, so ones life reflects the heart.”