russ + henshaw is a young and enthusiastic design collaborative exploring creative solutions in the field of architecture and urbanism. The collaboration, between architects Lianne Russ and Phil Henshaw, draws upon experience in both professional practice and academic research to offer new approaches for intervening in the public realm. Previous projects include Ebbw Vale Vertical Gardens: the transformation of a 1,100sqm derelict former concrete steelworks basement into a community space and allotments for local schools.
Tile Mile is an exciting temporary installation celebrating the products of different Turkishceramics brands, designed to appropriate the arch of St. John's Gate as part of Clerkenwell Design Week Festival 2014.
St John's Gate is one of the most iconic landmarks in Clerkenwell and a spectacular example of the area's historic architecture. Russ + Henshaw wanted the proposal to celebrate both the built heritage of Clerkenwell and modern Turkish ceramics. As such, the idea was to consider the future alongside the past; to look back as well as to look forward. This led to the concept of reflection.
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 St John's Gate 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 will create the illusion of an infinite 'crypt like' space, which extends to infinity with a dramatic decorative pathway disappearing into the distance.
The illusion is also reminiscent of the spectacular space within the famous 'Basilica Cistern', below the Stoa Basilica 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. Upon stepping into the arch, the viewer will experience diminishing images of themselves along the 'tiled passageway' extending to infinity.