Why we are attracted to all things sparkling
2015Whether it is the sequins and glitter of a teenage girl’s bedroom, the gleaming paintwork behind the glass of a prestigious car showroom or the diamonds and crystal chandeliers of a home with a desirable post code, we are all enchanted by shiny objects. Even the latest, high-tech iPhone 6 becomes a “must have” for the savvy fashionista only when bejewelled with Swarovski crystal or adorned with black platinum.
While glossy and sparkly objects have long been associated with wealth and luxury it might come as a surprise to learn that this is not simply the human enjoyment of “pretty things”, or a culturally acquired preference. Our feelings resonate with the primitive innate need for water, essential for our survival as species and developed during the evolutionary progress.
Scientific research carried out at the University of Houston has substantiated this theory. In a series of tests, the researchers demonstrated that our basic human need for water and association of drinking water with glossy surfaces manifests itself in the visual appeal to us of all things shiny. Furthermore, this is not something learnt with age or confined to a particular society. Isolated tribes like the Yolngu of Australia celebrate their love for shimmer and shine in their art and culture without any influence from western aesthetics. Glossy paper is perceived of a higher quality and preferred by adults but even small children, not aware of the quality concept or affected by advertising industry have the same preference.
Our bias to sparkle is just an extension of our attraction for glossy objects. Images like the alluring reflection of the Sun in water, glistening on the horizon are fluid, emotional, sensitive and mysterious. They is soothing, calming and purifying and manufacturers are quick to satisfy our prime instinct for objects which remind us of water. So don’t rush to book a session with your therapist when realising that you are too affected by the “shiny phenomenon”.
In my job as an interior designer, I see the most conservative of men succumb to the magical qualities of crushed glass tiles that twinkle and glimmer. There is no better product to showcase the lengths to which artisans and designers will go to achieve this look than these crushed glass creations, made in Italy and used in the most glamorous interiors around the world. Recently they were incorporated in the design of the fourth floor of Hotel Puerta America in Madrid, but they are not just the prerogative of top hotels and high-end residential projects. Used sparingly as a feature, more modest homes can experience the spectacular transformation of an ordinary space into something amazing.
The long time spent by the design team in developing this unique product has resulted in a wide variety of application possibilities. The tiles come in a multitude of colours to suit any interior and, when used for commercial projects, they can be matched to corporate colours and accommodate a company logo inside the crushed glass. The casing is made of extra clear glass and crushed glass elements are bonded inside of the case. The back of the tiles can be clear, or sand blasted for back lit situations, or mirrored to double the perceived depth of the crushed glass. This mirrored back option allows for LED side lighting to create a magnificent effect. The tiles can be used for walls, partitions, as decorative elements in furniture or as wall lights. They can also be reinforced for floors. Using just a few glass tiles in otherwise unassuming floor will make it look sensational. When side or back lit, these tiles may be best left for a dance floor but in furniture or bar design it is practically “de rigueur”.
Aside from the use of the product as tiles, the company can produce this crushed glass wonder in any size and shape. A mesmerising bespoke dining table top will become a conversational topic for any dinner party. Or use it on the stairs and everybody will want to experience “walking on water”.
To see this exclusive product at first hand visit Art of Interiors in Hale, Cheshire where you will get expert help and advise on how to use these crushed glass tiles with maximum effect. This will set your heart racing today, but who knows what will be “in” next year? Evolution drives preferences but preferences evolve too...
Read it here, published by Foxley Docket issue 18:
pages 48 – 49