At a time when sales of the Rider-Tarot deck are skyrocketing, designers are finding inspiration in the mystical, melding decorative man-made mirrors with raw materials sourced from the earth. The most daring of these objects set the mirrors in stone, as if they sprouted to life like a flower.
“Crystals have different medicinal properties, and mirrors have a long history of having a mysticism surrounding them,” explains Los Angeles designer Leah Ring, whose recent Aura Mirror collection seeks to “highlight the tension between those two things.” (A cheaper version is sold through Urban Outfitters.) Though her choice of materials is aesthetically driven, the crystals are meant to underscore the importance of exploring juxtapositions of textures and how they impact our everyday lives.
That’s because, in their own sneaky way, these mirrors ask us to consider their appearance alongside our own. Sure, they may be nothing more than soulless slabs of industrial glass, but their earthy foundation reminds us of different times—of times when phone calls went long and our lives felt a little bit simpler.
Here are three inventive designers setting the bar for mirrors in stone.
“I love crystals,” says Ring, 31, an interior designer who “wanted to juxtapose the tension between their beautiful, natural forms with something so clearly man-made.” Each piece from her Aura Mirror collection, released this year under the moniker Another Human, marries a hand-picked crystal—“the hardest part is finding the stone,” admits the Minnesota native—with a tombstone- or oval-shaped mirror. Sealers enhance the stone’s natural beauty while its bottom is flattened so it sits flush. An incision and perhaps some sandblasting later, the glimmering calcite, fluorite, and obsidian crystals are ready for their well-deserved close up.
Aura Mirror X UO Natural Obsidian Mirror, available at Urban Outfitters.
“It was born from the idea of bringing different materials together and playing with how they interact,” says Arielle Assouline-Lichten, 33, of her Brooklyn design firm Slash Object’s Coexist collection. While the mirror plays with the continuation of the heavy vanato or statuary marble base, its reflective properties “create the illusion of lightness,” she says. “All these hard and fragile materials come together in a harmonious way, so it was important to me to create these flush connections.”
An architect by trade, Assouline-Litchten, whose Danish mother also designs, admits there is something “brutal” about “imposing a strict cube onto a natural material.” But what is beauty without pain? “I think it’s super beautiful to see this texture that could continue on to its natural completion,” she says, “but we cut it off and are seeing where those sharp lines exist.”
Classic Slash Mirror, available at Slash Objects.
Creating a mirror from something other than wood posed a challenge for Porto, Portugal, furniture duo Studio Gud. Yet Paulo Neves and Alexandre Kumagai were up to the task, especially when they managed to get ahold of fine white marble from Estremoz, an ancient settlement in the Alentejo region renowned for its rich marble quarries. “It’s a perfect marble,” says Neves, who wanted the glamorous Faze mirror to reflect his home country. “There’s nothing special about the mirror,” he jokes, but “the way the brass works with the marble is very elegant. I like it because it’s shiny.”
Fazer large mirror, available at AndRatio.
Get inspired by these mirrors in stone (and a couple in wood):