Overmantel mirror with a charred frame, sealed with epoxy resin
Width: 120 cm, Height: 188 cm
Telling Tales: Fantasy and Fear in Contemporary Design (Victoria & Albert Museum 14/07/2009-18/10/2009)
Maarten Baas (born Netherlands, 1978)
19th-century French mirror, charred
This mirror disturbingly evokes the middle-class parlours of 18th-century prints and novels, where the disrepair of the furnishings symbolises the inner ruin of the characters. A chasm between comfort and discomfort exists in the stark contrast between the polite form and its post-apocalyptic appearance. Ironically, it is the poverty of the charred wood that lends the mirror value and charisma. [14/07/2009-18/10/2009]
Made from a nineteenth century French overmantel mirror
This mirror was created by charring a 19th-century French overmantel mirror with a blow-torch, then sealing the surface with epoxy resin to preserve the burnt wood. Designer Maarten Baas developed this method for his graduation collection at the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2002.
Like much contemporary Dutch design, Baas's 'Smoke' furniture provokes us to think about the history of the objects, and encourages us to value something which might otherwise be discarded or overlooked. The making process is destructive as well as creative, bringing into question the role of the designer as a creator of new objects.