Project team:

Pablo Bolinches Vidal, Darragh Breathnach, Daria Leikina


16. Oct 2015

Toying with perception

Text: Joachim Ritter
Photos: VAV & Miquel Merce

When we look into a mirror we are generally trying to observe or see ourselves from a different perspective. And even though we ourselves do not change, it can happen that we discover something new about the way we look. It is all a question of standpoint and perception. And it is also possible to have a space “look” into a mirror and discover new things about itself…

Using a mirror as a purposeful means of designing or extending a space is nothing more or less than toying, or maybe even tampering, with the vulnerability of our visual system. Mirrors show us that everything is simply a question of perception, of believing what we think we are seeing. Nature also offers us a number of reflective surfaces. And again the human brain must be super careful not to be misled by perception and should rather rely on past experience to decipher the truth. But when we view reflections in nature, it is fascination that overcomes us: we see new spatial structures unravelling before our eyes, impressions generated through reflection, another world to step into and experience. A new level of awareness, abandonment, gained space, a melting of boundaries, freedom! Which is probably why in fairy tales mirrors often serve as or symbolise gateways into other worlds. In nature, reflective surfaces tend not to be vertical, like the mirror on the wall for us to conveniently look into, but horizontal. The water in lakes and rivers offers us images of nature and changes our perception – or view of life. The movement of water alone reminds us of where we are and ensures we consciously remain in the real world. And yet we can readily lose ourselves in the reflections and calm presence of a lake, and enter into a trance-like state. Whatever we see, realtity becomes disconnected from what we perceive. A space does not become larger because a mirror makes us believe this is so by not clearly defining the spatial limits. But a mirror can change what we believe to be the size of a space. An expansion of our sensory perception? Only when we allow this to happen. VAV Architects have created an installation that experiments with mirrors and demonstrates how a space can give rise to completely new spatial experiences and impressions using mirrors and light. […]


The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 99

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