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At the heart of the CWGC Centenary Garden is the idea of reflection. Both reflection on the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in the two World Wars, and also reflection on the lives we lead as a free country and a generation not at war.

This echoes the purpose of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, who work tirelessly to encourage contemplation, remembrance and respect for all that was sacrificed by our brave servicemen and women during the conflicts.

With this noble cause at the centre, it seemed fitting to bring that idea of reflection into the garden in a very real and physical way.

The mirror measures 1600mm in diameter

So I designed and commissioned a great mirror to be built for the garden, with the idea of bringing self-awareness to the visitor as they see themselves reflected within the garden setting.

As a design feature, this mirror serves another purpose too: it makes the space feel larger than it is, and the convex design of the mirror enhances this aspect.

The mirror is hand-crafted by the expert team at B&S Glass Industries. B&S have been handcrafting glass since 1928, and also supply all of the glass for the Queen’s globed lamps inside and outside of Buckingham palace.

The mirror weighs 30 kilograms

They specialise in bespoke and handmade glass designs, and claim that they are probably the only people in the world who can make a convex mirror of this size by hand.

It took six people to get the massive sheet of 6mm glass into the kiln, where it was bent and moulded into shape at 650°C. It took a day to bend and cool, another day to hand-silver the back, another day to give it an antique effect, and then a further half day to back it with a safety coating.

It took 6 men
to get the glass into
the kiln.

This wonderful piece of craftsmanship will be right at home in the CWGC Centenary Garden, which sits in the Artisan Garden section of the show due to the wealth of artisan craftsmanship that is on display in the garden.

The garden is designed to be a small area set aside within a larger cemetery or memorial site. This stunning mirror will be set, as if floating, in a hedge on the rear wall of the garden. It will face the oak bench at the centre of the platform, where visitors can sit for a few minutes to contemplate and think about what they have just seen and experienced before leaving the site.

TO PART 5
TO PART 7


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