Giant mirror installation is a kaleidoscope of colour

Commissioned by the Alexandria, Virginia’s Office of the Arts, Mirror Mirror is a public art installation created by New York City-based design studio SOFTlab. The multi-coloured panels are placed at sharp angles within the round sculpture, and refract a dazzling kaleidoscope of light as the sun hits its interior.

The opening of the circle is 25 feet in diameter, with the panels reaching 8 feet in height, inviting visitors in to move from the mirrored exterior into the rainbow interior. As the light changes, shapes and shadows dance in the reflections produced by both surfaces, creating mesmerizing patterns on the ground using a series of prisms to concentrate light sources and direct them into a narrow horizontal beam. The monochromatic panels on the outside, however, are intended to reflect the installation’s urban environment: Alexandria’s Waterfront, Old Town, and the surrounding park.

Mirror Mirror installation in Alexandria, Virginia
People experiencing the Mirror Mirror installation

Not only dynamic in its reflections, the installation also an interactive experience thanks to sound-responsive lights; LED lights within the interior blocks of the colour are activated by sound. They transform the exterior surface into a transparent shell while maintaining the mirrored quality of the coloured panels.

Installation refracts light from the sun

Inspiration for the kaleidoscope installation

“We were inspired by the architecture of the lighthouse and how it uses a lenticular lens to cast light, panoramically connecting land and sea,” says artist and architect Michael Szivos of SOFTlab.

The inspiration — Jones Point Lighthouse and its unique lens — was built in 1855 and contains a Fresnel lens, which was cutting-edge technology at the time. Mirror Mirror, which is installed at the King Street Park, will remain on view through November 2019.

Mirror Mirror is also lit by LEDs and activated by sound
A kaleidoscope of colour

Mirror Mirror

A demonstration of how the sculpture reacts to human movement can be seen in the video below. You can view more works by SOFTlab on their website and Instagram.