When i began to make my prototype for the final Light piece, City Lights, i had a slightly different idea to my final outcome. I was planning on making a diorama that the viewer puts their head in from beneath. I began to make a prototype out of card.

i began with the base piece and began to make boxes for the buildings.

As i was working i saw myself in the mirror and had the idea to adapt my model to my eventual final outcome. The main motivations behind changing and simplifying my design were time pressure and detailing. Because the rough shape and constructions were similar, my prototype was still applicable.


After finalising my design and planning how it would fit together, i began construction. i bought an antique mirror from Jacob’s Market in the city centre and brought it home. My plan was to upcycle it.

the mirror came with a protective backboard which was the same size as the pane. this was useful in taking measurements for constructing the components. you can see how they all fit together in my sketchbook.

My piece is held together entirely with wood glue and is constructed from MDF.

(excuse the profanity! stressful day)

Once the mirror was secured in place, the baseboard was finished. i now began to make the components of the buildings. i made sure that all the corners were the same height to they would line up. Compensating for some adjustments threw off my measurements a bit which was a pain during construction – when doing similar pieces in the future i will make sure to factor them in well in advance. thankfully it didn’t effect construction very badly at all.

i used a right-angled thick wood strip to glue the sides to the baseboard.

I drilled holes for the windows. although not square, i expect their regular spacing will grant a viable effect and they will still resemble buildings.

Reinforcements were also placed vertically in the corners to strengthen the construction.

because i used the same measurements for each component, making the horizontal flat planes was a breeze.

at this point the construction was basically finished. I bought some string lights from Tiger, the novelty homeware shop. I was hoping for just yellow or white but they only had multicoloured. This is not too much of a problem. They are battery-powered for convenience, you can see the black box at the top of the mirror below.

Although the construction was finished, the piece was still very obviously wood and i felt it needed an finish to complete it. Seeing as my project was inspired by the city at night, i decided to coat it in a black matte paint.
I had to be sure to cover the mirror pane with paper and line it with masking tape to avoid paint getting on the surface.

finished! i installed a hanging thread behind the piece, but i will exhibit it standing on a plinth against a wall for safety.