Design Studio Russ + Henshaw worked with tile manufacturer Turkishceramics to realized the Tile Mile, a site-specifi installation beneath the two, six-metre high arches of St John’s Gate as part of Clerkenwell Design Week Festival 2014.
The concept for the installation is derived from both the chosen site and the products of Turkish ceramics. St John’s Gate is one of the most iconic landmarks in Clerkenwell and a spectacular example of the areas historic architecture.
“We wanted the proposal to celebrate both the built heritage of Clerkenwell and modern ceramic products. As such, the idea was to honour the present alongside the past; to look back as well as to look forward. This led to the concept of reflection” explain the architects.
“From this conceptual basis, we considered the optical effects of mirrors as a way of reflecting both the architecture of the site and the product. Mirrors have historically been linked with the concept of infinity which calls to mind the infinitely repeating mathematical patterns such as ‘Penrose Tiling’; reminiscent of Islamic and Turkish ceramics.”
The two inner arches of the site present surfaces with which to feature parallel mirrors, also known as infinity mirrors. By using the parallel mirrors to reflect both the vaulted ceiling of the arch and an intricately tiled floorscape, a relatively simple concept can be used to theatrical effect. The reflection of the floor and ceiling planes in the mirrored arches create the illusion of an infinite ‘crypt like’ space with a dramatic decorative pathway disappearing into the distance.
The illusion is also reminiscent of the spectacular space within the famous ‘Basillica Cistern’ below the Stoa Basillica in Istanbul, with its endless forest of columns and elaborate vaulted ceiling.
Infinity mirrors are an exciting and intriguing demonstration of the law of reflection. They inspire interest, intrigue and a sense of playfulness which will invite the public to engage and interact with the installation.