Pablo, mirror effects


Design by Gabriele Rosa

The starting point was thinking about contemporary man and his complex and schizophrenic personality.” And so young designer Gabriele Rosa started the journey for Pablo’s project, the mirror that became part of Zanotta’s catalogue in 2008. Today, the different looks and artistic possibilities are endless for a simple and functional industrial product such as a mirror. And not only due to its shape and style, but also for the technology used. We started with the designer’s drawing and ended up with a technical revision where shape was tied to the quality and functionality of the object. It appeared to be a series of mirrors that could be freely hung at different heights and more or less regularly on the wall. A sort of reflective collage. However, to produce it industrially and make it effective and usable from practical point of view, it had to be restyled with the designer without distorting the initial idea and ornamental effect. The designer confirms: “I started with a three-dimensional model on the computer, which was rendered and then sent to Zanotta. They liked the project immediately but several modifications were necessary in order to obtain the final product based on my idea. I was interested in using the project to translate that feeling of instability and fragmentation that an increasing number of people – especially at my age – is consciously experiencing. I thought of a mirror. First of all, I tried taking a mirror and dividing it into panels and then I understood that a more detailed group was necessary, in which several mirrors were used at the same time. This led to the creation of a “cluster”, a group of elements in a casual arrangement that could maintain their independence. My idea evoked a technique used in photography to compose large images using a collage of many small photos. I used David Hockney as a specific reference. In addition, my passion for deconstructive appearance or so-called “liquid modernity” contributed to the design: complex, fragmented and dynamic. That is what I wanted. Elements with different dimensions, superimposed at different levels in an apparently untidy manner.” The first project envisaged every mirror with a wooden frame hung from the ceiling with a thin wire. “The original wires made the product too unstable and we decided to eliminate the frames because the crystal was cut using a laser,” says Rosa. And hung this way close to each other, the mirrors tended to rotate and take on an irregular alignment. But Zanotta still liked the idea and continued fine-tuning it by trying to glue the mirrors in a design that was an accurate copy of the original layout. And then someone had the idea to paint the back of each mirror with a bright colour. At that point, after a few tests for balance, Pablo took shape. Thinking back on the stages, the designer recalls: “If I try to come up with a brief definition of the Pablo project, I think about the first line in the famous book by Julio Cortàzar entitled “Hopscotch”. The author writes: “In its own way, this book consists of many books”, and I like presenting Pablo by saying: this mirror consists of many mirrors.”