Since the industrial revolution, architects have employed the use of mirrors in buildings across the world. But what is it about mirrors that people love so much? Are we that vain as a society that we must see others and ourselves at all times? Or do our primitive brains simply enjoy the notion that there exists a whole world out there opposite to our own? Whatever it is architects have continued to use mirrors in new and interesting ways to play with reflection, light, and invisibility to create a dimension to their work that’s not possible with other materials.
The Mirror House by MLRP is a project in Copenhagen that uses funhouse mirrors at the ends of and on the doors of their playground pavilion. Kindergarten students interact with the series of concave and convex mirrors when the doors are opened and closed. As part of the Copenhagen Interactive Playground Project, MLRP converted this graffiti-covered shed into an interesting space that reflect its nearby forest environment and creates a safer place for children to play.
But mirrors at a large scale are not just for kids. Take Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor for instance. This massive bean-shaped object in downtown Chicago in comprised of 168 stainless steel plates welded together and polished to a mirror finish. Thousands of people come to Millennium Park each year to play and interact with Cloud Gate. The sculpture offers up views of Chicago’s magnificent skyline in an interesting and fun way. People can look at themselves and others in a distorted world all in the heart of the Midwest’s largest city.
Finally, Mirrorcube Treehotel by Than and Videgard Arkitekter in Sweden utilizes mirrors for a very different purpose. This mirror-clad tree fort hovers just above a person’s sight line and, by reflecting its woody environment, renders it almost invisible. This prefabricated panelized structure is just one of a series of tree fort hotel rooms for rent by the night.