Giant Mirror Installation Invites the Public to Step Inside a Kaleidoscope of Color

Mirror Mirror by Softlab

New York City-based design studio SOFTlab has unveiled a new, interactive public artwork in Alexandria, Virginia. Mirror Mirror is a kaleidoscope of color formed from an open circle that is 25 feet in diameter and 8 feet high. The structure invites visitors in, allowing them 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.

The exterior mirrors are intended to reflect the installation's urban environment. Alexandria's Waterfront, Old Town, and the surrounding park are outward reflections of the city. When guests walk into the circle, they are instead greeted by a more intimate reflection. Here, it's the human face that is reflected, tinged in the hues of the rainbow for a surreal effect.

The artwork is not only dynamic in its reflections; it is also an interactive experience thanks to sound-responsive lights. LED lights within the interior blocks of the color are activated by sound. They transform the exterior mirrored surface into a transparent shell while maintaining the mirrored quality of the colored panels. In this manner, Mirror Mirror creates “an infinite, colorful reflection and forest of light.”

For inspiration, SOFTlab turned to the city's history when commissioned by Alexandria's Office of the Arts to produce the public artwork. In particular, they were moved by the city's Jones Point Lighthouse and its unique lens. Built in 1855, the historic lighthouse contains a Fresnel lens, which was cutting-edge technology at the time. SOFTlab describes the technology as “a series of prisms to concentrate the light source and direct it into a narrow horizontal beam that was projected outward.”

Mirror Mirror, which is installed at the King Street Park at the Waterfront, will remain on view through November 2019. It is the first work commissioned for Site/See: New Views in Old Town, an annual series of temporary installation to enhance Alexandria's Waterfront.

Mirror Mirror is an interactive public art installation in Alexandria, Virginia by SOFTlab.

Public Art in Alexandria Virginia

The open circle invites visitors to move around and within the art installation.

Public Art Installation by Softlab in Alexandra, Virginia Mirror Mirror by Softlab

The mirrored exterior is contrasted with the kaleidoscope of color within the structure.

Interactive Art by Softlab Public Art Installation by Softlab in Alexandra, Virginia

Throughout the day, light reflecting from the installation casts incredible shapes and colors on the ground.

Mirror Mirror by Softlab Public Art in Alexandria Virginia Public Art Installation by Softlab in Alexandra, Virginia Interactive Art by Softlab

The sound responsive artwork has LED lights that create what artist and architect Michael Szivos of SOFTlab calls, “a forest of light.”

Public Art in Alexandria Virginia Mirror Mirror by Softlab

SOFTlab: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Vimeo

Images via Alan Tansey. My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by SOFTlab.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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