Friday, August 16, 2013

Stand Off Mirrors Stand Out Like No Other Bathroom Element

The bathroom mirror in your home shouldn’t just reflect your image when you look into it, it should also show your design tastes and echo the motif of the space it occupies.  A mirror can be displayed in numerous ways to cultivate the look you want for your bathroom. For instance, a regal Louis XIV gilded frame hanging commandingly over a vanity is going to make a far different statement than a simple, unframed mirror fastened to the wall by austere chrome clips. Each style mirror has its natural place, although sometimes you might have the urge to take a risk. What about throwing that Louis XIV piece into a stripped down modernist bathroom setting? A statement would definitely be made – whether or not that statement is appreciated is another matter altogether…

A new mirror design trend has emerged over the past couple of years that you might have encountered on Pinterest or Houzz and the like. The “standoff” or “floating” mirror has taken off in a big way recently. This is generally a no-frills, unframed mirror thrust out from the wall anywhere from ½” to a few inches giving it the illusion that it is hovering in air. Because it does not lay flush with the wall, the sharp lines that inform the mirror’s perimeter are emphasized and the mirror achieves a presence that is not typical to unframed pieces as it breaks free from the wall plane.

Standoff mirrors rely upon special hardware or a surface built out from the attachment wall to achieve the “hover” effect. If you want to go the hardware route, metal pegs secure the corners through holes drilled into the mirror fixed to round fasteners on the mirror’s surface. This option is only possible for smaller pieces, otherwise the mirror’s weight places too much stress on the holes and crack-outs are likely. The built out approach is achieved by attaching addition material (extra drywall or 2x4s) to the surface behind the mirror and adhering hangers to the reverse side of mirror for mounting.

It’s possible to push the novelty of standoff mirrors even further by incorporating sandblasted elements and stark lighting, techniques that owe gratitude to the conceptual artwork of pioneers, like James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson. Sandblasting and mirror lighting play together winningly; creating a warm, diffuse glow as light filters through the opaque sandblasted portions. This effect can be used in a number of charming ways, such as “the framed look” or “counter-relief lighting”. Check out examples of each below.

Framed-Look/Counter-Relief Lighting

Of course, some people skip the sandblasting altogether and just let the lighting create the drama. Notice, in the photo above, how it spills out over the edges of the mirror like a morning sun breaking the horizon. Forgive the attempt at poetry, but this lighting does smack of the Epic. Now back to the mundane - if you want to produce as similar effect in your new bathroom, remember to talk to your electrician about how to ready the space for backlighting and what kind of lights will work best.

Stand-off mirrors can add a contemporary edge to a bathroom, especially when sandblasting or creative lighting is incorporated. They also complement other contemporary pieces, like frameless showers, perfectly. Whether this look will age a bathroom in the future remains to be seen. My hunch is that this style of mirror display will become a new classic. Either way, for the time being, standoffs standout like no other bathroom feature.