Relativistic Surfaces – Epoxy
by on October 27, 2016 in All Design



“Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”

Marcus Aurelius


Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity within themselves, but they only have relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration.

Relativistic Surfaces are a series of surfaces that exploit optical relativity to create dynamic spaces. ‘Relativistic Surfaces’ is about the subjective nature of experience. We often take it for granted, and that is something I want to change. I want to make us acknowledge it: that all reality is in the eye of the beholder, and that our perspective literally defines our reality.

I have designed a series of modular optical surface materials out of glass and epoxy that create a spatial feature that reminds us of and makes us acknowledge the subjective nature of experience.

Both the faceted relief of the glass tiles and the angled inclusions within the epoxy tiles function by one colour occluding as much as possible all others from different points of view. As a broad surface and in a space the difference between our focus and our peripheral vision reacts to our position in the room and forces us to locate and acknowledge that the cause for the changing colours of the space is within ourselves. This creates an existential experience of space, and of our own responsibility for the nature of that experience.


Epoxy Tiles

Relativistic Surfaces Epoxy tiles are made by casting inclusions set in a grid into a solid epoxy tile. The epoxy tiles are a reinvention of the same optical relativity principle, but with a different working out for a different material. I realized instead of a relief I could use coloured inclusions and then cast those inclusion in epoxy resin. I tested the principle in paper models first. The colours are provided by double-sided colour inclusions that are inserted into a lazer cut grid before being cast into a solid epoxy tile.







The Tiles that are produced are transparent and smooth on both sides. The production process is easily converted into an industrial mass production process given the right industrial partner.

gif_maker_epoxyFor this particular gif I wanted to experiment with using different colour scheme tiles in the same tessellation. From some perspective the tiles seem to form a coherent plain, while from other perspective some tiles pop out of the plain as being differently coloured.

This sort of pattern within the tessellation of tiles is also applicable to the glass tiles, and opens up even more possibility for suprises and intrigue.

Perspective A to D

_dsc0007-2 _dsc0011-2 _dsc0018 _dsc0021 _dsc0034 

The Unique Qualities of Relativistic Surfaces in Epoxy

One of the great outcomes of Relativistic Surfaces worked out in Epoxy is that colour is ONLY visible in perspective. From top down you see only the silhouette of the colour inserts and for the rest only clear epoxy.

View: In perspective

untitled-1View: Top-Down

untitled-sdds1 untitled-ww1


This is one of the most exciting thing about using this material with this technique. If I have the opportunity to work further on this project I would like to move from tiles to making large one piece panels. My work on Relativistic Surfaces in glass as material influenced to much my thinking while I was working on Relativistic Surfaces in epoxy. Epoxy, unlike glass, can be produced easily as large single sheets. For my work with Glass it made sense to make tiles, it was a heavy material and needed to be portioned out for that reason, but also so it could fit in a Kiln. Epoxy is lighter and cures without needing a Kiln: so making a large sheet or panel is a better format for Relativistic Surfaces in Epoxy.

What is exciting about large panels, is the use of them as windows, screens, and room dividers. So when you look directly out through the panel your vision is hardly obscured but for a few silhouettes. So all you see is transparent epoxy and what is on the other side.

However in perspective, especially if I use transparent, dichroic, or iridescent colour inserts instead of opaque color inserts, then a natural gradient of colour from transparent to opaque occurs: as the colour inserts build up in the denser layers in perspective the colour becomes darker. And all this in your peripheral vision while looking out of an essentially transparent window. This is something I would like to experiment with at a later date.