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Mirror - Smoke Mirror

Smoke Mirror

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Holland (made)

  • Date:

    2007 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Baas, Maarten, born 1978 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silvered glass in a wooden frame, charred and sealed with epoxy resin

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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.

Physical description

Overmantel mirror with charred wooden frame sealed with epoxy resin, the frame decorated with carved floral ornaments and flanked by a pair of barleytwist columns.

Place of Origin

Holland (made)


2007 (made)


Baas, Maarten, born 1978 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Silvered glass in a wooden frame, charred and sealed with epoxy resin


Width: 120 cm, Height: 188 cm

Descriptive line

Overmantel mirror with a charred frame, sealed with epoxy resin

Exhibition History

Telling Tales: Fantasy and Fear in Contemporary Design (Victoria and Albert Museum 14/07/2009-18/10/2009)

Labels and date

‘Smoke’ mirror
Maarten Baas (born Netherlands, 1978)
19th-century French mirror, charred
V&A: W.41-2008

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]

Production Note

Made from a nineteenth century French overmantel mirror


Wood; Mirror glass; Epoxy resin


Carving; Burning

Subjects depicted

Floral ornaments


Furniture; Woodwork

Production Type


Collection code


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