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A powerful experience - with a simple technique

Mirrors reflects reality in a different way, and create worlds and spaces that change the visitor's perception of reality, while creating a visual illusion in order to intensify different feelings.

The oldest mirrors were discovered in excavations in Anatolia, Turkey, and are 8,000 years old. Even in the Bible, mirrors are mentioned on different occasions.

Although in visitor centers in Israel I have not yet seen that mirrors are used to achieve special effects or to create visual illusions (this does not mean that there are none, it just means that I have not seen..) When planning the design and display spaces in a visitor center, it is worth examining in depth whether it is worth using mirrors, How to use them, and is there a justification for it from the content side.

There is one visitor center that is in the advanced stages of construction and where I serve as a content consultant, and there actually plans to use mirrors in an intelligent and justified way! This is an observation deck for a unique view, where the plan is to place a large mirror on the back wall of the deck, so that when a visitor standing on the deck facing the view turns back, he will see himself in the mirror against the background of the view.

Eureka! I realized something while writing these lines (although the project planning is very advanced):

The mirror on the wall must be tilted at an angle downward - between 10-20 degrees, otherwise - the person standing in front of the mirror will see himself against the background of the sky, and not against the background of the landscape!

Now we just need to make sure that the planning instruction goes to the designers and the center's production company

In many visitor centers / pavilions at the Dubai Expo, mirrors are used in different ways, to achieve different goals.

Four excellent examples of the use of mirrors: Japan, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Japan Pavilion:

We will dedicate a whole article to the Japanese later, because in my opinion it was the most intelligent, invested and exciting booth of all - by a wide margin. The Japanese put a lot of thought into the experience they want to create for visitors, and invested a lot in every possible aspect - the design, the technology, the content, the ideas, the scripts, and more - it was simply a pavilion that "buzzed" everything else. It was not for nothing that there was a waiting line at the entrance to the Japanese Pavilion with an average length of an hour and a half.

Here we will only focus on one aspect of the pavilion, the way the mirrors are used.

In several places during the tour, mirrors were used, each time in a different way, with a different content, to achieve a different goal.

In the first photos, you see a long line of about 50 visitors, standing next to each other in front of a mirror about 20 meters long. On the screen behind the visitors' backs there is a powerful video display that deals with the damage and pollution of the earth, with the visual effect being that each of the visitors sees themselves in the mirror as if they were part of the display.

In another exhibition space there is an amazing exhibition of the Japanese miniature artist Tatsuya Tanaka, who created entertaining and inspiring works. The space is not very large, but it is surrounded by mirrors from all directions that stand at different angles, so that the visitor seems to be in a vast space whose end cannot be seen. Although there are sections that are confusing - because it is not clear to you whether you are moving towards a new area in space or towards a mirror - but the effect is superb :)

מאות מיצגי מיניאטורה מספקים הצצה מגניבה לתרבות היפנית
Japanese miniature artist Tatsuya Tanaka

Switzerland Pavilion:

In Switzerland's pavilion, an ingenious use was made of huge mirrors that cover the front wall of the entire building - a wall about 20 meters wide and about 15 meters high. We all know the red and white flag of Switzerland well from the Swiss knives. The front wall is covered with mirrors as mentioned, and in front of it there is an entrance square measuring 20 by 20 meters. The extension is covered with red synthetic grass on which the flag and the name of Switzerland are painted - in mirror script - so that it is properly reflected on the wall of the mirror. Everyone who passes in front of the pavilion is exposed to the charming display that is enhanced in a very cool way, when every visitor standing in the entrance line on the plaza receives a large red-white umbrella that blends into the impressive display that is reflected in the mirrors.

When the visitors advance with their umbrellas towards the structure - it creates a charming effect!

The least attractive thing for the Swiss was that apart from this beautiful idea - there was really nothing to see in the building itself. And maybe we'll expand on that another time.

Saudi Pavilion: The Saudi pavilion has two areas of excellent use of mirrors. We have already talked about the large mirror that covers the front wall, and here in the picture - and in the short video, you can clearly see the effect. During the visit inside the Saudi building, another use was made of a huge mirror that acted like a kaleidoscope - with the same magical effect that confuses the mind of the observer. The truth - when I entered the room with the kaleidoscope/mirror, it took me quite some time to even understand what I was seeing in front of me, and those were very fun moments.

Israel's pavilion - it is ours: The architect who designed the pavilion is David Knafo, who did an outstanding job in designing a unique solution to the center's ideas. The AVS company was responsible for the construction of the pavilion, and the manager of the pavilion was Josh Bandit, an excellent professional and also a friend. The pavilion uses, among other things, large mirrors that are placed on the ceiling strips of the pavilion, thus creating a feeling of openness on the one hand as well as of movement and reflection. By the way, it is not difficult to notice that the budgets invested in the Israeli pavilion were - to put it mildly - different - from the budgets of the neighboring pavilions. Considering the budget limitations - the solution of using mirrors created a spectacular effect.

הקירות - מסכים, התקרות - מראות. ובקומת הקרקע המיצג המרכזי
The entrance to the Israeli pavilion in Dubai


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