new installation uses old lighthouse tech to beam prisms of colorful light

new installation uses old lighthouse tech to beam prisms of colorful light

mirror mirror, an interactive public artwork designed by SOFTlab, for the city of alexandria, virginia opens march 30. the artwork and its many colorful lights will be on view at the new kings street park, at the waterfront through november, 2019, and is the first artwork commissioned for site/see: new views in old town, a series of ephemeral installations on alexandria’s waterfront.

SOFTlab all images courtesy of alan tansey



SOFTlab’s installation in-the-round takes the form of an opened circle, 25 feet in diameter and 8 feet high. for visitors of the alexandria waterfront, the piece is like a lighthouse — both a place to look outward at your surroundings and a beacon to be seen from afar and watched. and, more literally, it uses the technology a lighthouse. 




the materials and interactive nature of the artwork references the special lens used at alexandria’s own historic jones point lighthouse – the fresnel lens, the most advanced lens technology the 1800s had to offer. it uses a series of prisms to concentrate light sources and directs them into a narrow horizontal beam.




the work is also programmed and responds to sound with light, allowing visitors to interact with the piece and affect its appearance using their voices and bodies. LED fixtures inside each vertical component are activated by sound and respond by producing light, transforming the front-facing panels from mirrored to transparent, while the interior panels remain mirrored, creating an infinite, colorful reflection that szivos compares to ‘a forest of light,’ for the waterfront of alexandria.



project info:


artists: SOFTlab


location: alexandria, virginia

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    art news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    504,281 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample
    designboom magazine