Mirrors were once an item of ultimate luxury; something reserved only for the wealthiest royalty and aristocracy. Prior to the 17th Century, mirrors were monopolised by the Venetians who were able to manufacture them almost without competition and create an item rivalling in cost the work of great artists like Raphael at the time.
The Venetians’ unparalleled success was overthrown by the French in the mid-17th Century, and in arguably one of the most famous rooms in the world, the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, their success and wealth was immortalised.
Known the world over, the 73 metre hallway incorporates ceiling frescoes and some 357 mirrors – at the time a grandiose statement of wealth and luxury. While this is far from the contemporary situation where the mirror is a commonplace item, there still exists a hint of luxury, especially when mirrored glass is used in certain ways.
Of late, that use has centered around the kitchen – typically an area of the house where mirrors are noticeably absent. While glass splashbacks have been popular for a while now, it is only a recent move towards mirrored glass that has seen the rise of this ancient display of luxury appearing in our kitchens.
“Mirrored splashbacks are becoming popular as they add character to a kitchen,” Graphic Glass’ Krista says. “They create the feeling of luxury in a modern kitchen and are a cost-effective way of adding value, whether it is a new kitchen or as a way to uplift an existing room.”
They’re particularly popular at the moment in smaller dwellings where space is at a premium, and are being used to create the illusion that the kitchen is more spacious and brighter than it is. “Mirror splashbacks act like a window into the kitchen by reflecting both natural and artificial light into the room, but depending on the desire of the designer or client, the mirrored glass can also be made in a matt finish to tone down how much light is reflected into the space.”
Contemporary mirrored glass is not simply the traditional style of mirrored glass we use as commonplace – the options are various and luxurious. Popular of late has been grey and bronze-tinted mirrored glass but Graphic Glass works with architects and designers to create completely custom options with any colour or finish required.
“By choosing a tinted glass, you aren’t changing the quality of the glass. By choosing to use a custom mirror tint, you’re able to express the character of a space in a way that is unique to a home’s style,” Krista says. “We’re finding grey-tinted mirrored glass is the most popular at the moment as it adds depth and sophistication to a room.”
And harking back to the artisan craftsman of Europe, antiquing is another popular finish for mirrored splashbacks at the moment, Krista says. “Antique-effect mirrors are becoming more and more popular. There’s many different types of antique finishes that can be achieved, right from a light stipple to a heavy, dark antique look. It gives a mottled effect to the glass and due to the process of antiquing, no two antique mirrors are the same. The process of antiquing creates a high-end, unique and personalised look.”
Make sure you visit Graphic Glass on ArchiPro here to have a look at some of their latest mirrored projects and explore what’s possible.