Are Trendy Fractured Mirrors Too ‘Psycho’ for the Home?
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Are Trendy Fractured Mirrors Too ‘Psycho’ for the Home?

Some interior designers appreciate the artful, sliced-up look of split mirrors. Others find them difficult to integrate into décor, and as creepy as the fragmented opening credits in Alfred Hitchcock’s horror classic.

Fri, Jan 6, 2023 9:11amGrey Clock 3 min

For the recurring series That’s Debatable, we take on a contentious issue of the day and present two spirited arguments—one in favor and the other emphatically opposed.

Are fractured mirrors cool or creepy? Stylish or sinister? We asked pros for their takes on this interior design trend. Plus, five picks for split mirrors worth considering.

No, their slices and shifts make them art objects
 Kelly Wearstler  (Photo by Amy Graves/Getty Images)

FOR KELLY WEARSTLER, mirrors with intentional slices or shifts in their glass offer uninterrupted pleasure. The interior designer hung Lee Broom’s “graphic and playful” Split Long Mirror in the dining room of her Beverly Hills home (left). Large chunks of its capsule shape slip out of line, and its simple black frame follows. Ms. Wearstler said she likes how the mirror refracts light and remixes the reflection of the room and its inhabitants: “Fracturing a mirror into segments immediately alters how you perceive yourself in it, shifting its basic function into an experience.”

Any object that breaks from its traditional form adds a “cool” element of interest and texture to a room, said Suki LaBarre, vice president of merchandising and e-commerce at New York-based ABC Carpet & Home, which sells similarly constructed looking glasses. “The style transforms what is typically a utilitarian object into a statement décor piece.”

Peter Spalding, an interior designer in Portland, Ore., and co-founder of design trade marketplace Daniel House Club, points to a celebrated precedent, the “glamorous” wall of alternating angled strips of mirror in British Art Deco designer Syrie Maugham’s 1930s London apartment. It’s an idea he’d gladly borrow. “A wall of fractured mirrors behind a banquette to define a dining area would be pretty dreamy,” he said, noting that such elements of surprise “elevate [design] from the mundane.”

Instagram and Pinterest have catalyzed interest in fragmented mirrors in recent years. As Los Angeles interior designer and social media influencer Dani Dazey points out, the mirrors “make for a great outfit selfie. The more unique the photo, the more your content is going to stand out.”

Yes, it’s creepy to look at your fractured self

THE SUPERSTITIOUS among us believe broken mirrors bring bad luck—or worse. “There are stories of fractured reflections capturing your soul in very early Roman history,” said Kara Phillips, an interior designer in Fort Worth, Texas, who prefers her mirrors retiring and intact. Ominous mythology aside, these designs create an unwelcome dark and edgy mood, said New York City designer Emma Beryl Kemper, who avoids the style because of the “hardness” and “sharpness” it brings to a space. Another detractor, Sydney interior designer Kate Nixon, agrees. “I seek to create homes that feel warm and inviting, not jarring or uncomfortable,” she said.

It’s this disturbing quality that turns off many naysayers. Think of the opening credits sequence of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” where fragmented typography portends a psychotic break. While no one is suggesting such mirrors will lead you to over-identify with your mummified mother, “it’s creepy to look at your fragmented self,” objects Steffie Oehm, an interior designer in San Francisco. They irk Toronto designer Rivki Rabinowitz for different reasons. “For something as benign as a mirror, I am inexplicably irritated by them,” she said, adding that she can’t help but feel they’re “reminiscent of a closeout sale where rows and rows of overly gilded mirrors are featured alongside…literally fractured ones.”

Others reject the specificity of the design. Said Ms. Nixon, “They’re difficult to install in a sophisticated way and to mix-and-match with other styles and eras.” But for San Francisco designer Tay BeepBoop, the bottom-line is that such mirrors can’t even perform their core function: competently reflecting one’s image. “If I need a mirror, I don’t want to look into something wonky,” she said.


Five more mirrors that break with tradition

Massimo Mirror, $1,250,

John Richard A Tale of Two Exotic Gold Mirror, $2,363,

Seletti Double Sense Mirror, $699,

Hidden Mirror, $7,315,

Revne Mirror, $2,530,

The Wall Street Journal is not compensated by retailers listed in its articles as outlets for products. Listed retailers frequently are not the sole retail outlets.


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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Booming demand for wellness tourism shows no slowing, with travel related to health and well-being projected to have reached $1 trillion last year and to hit $1.3 trillion by 2025, according to the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit based in Miami.

Curated wellness travel programs are especially sought-after, specifically holistic treatments focused on longevity. Affluent travellers not only are making time to hit the gym while gallivanting across the globe, they’re also seeking destinations that specifically cater to their wellness goals, including treatments aimed at living longer.

“I believe Covid did put a spotlight on self-care and well-being,” says Penny Kriel, corporate director of spa and wellness at Salamander Collection, a group of luxury properties in places like Washington, D.C., and Charleston, South Carolina. But Kriel says today’s spas are more holistic, encouraging folks to understand the wellness concept and incorporate it into their lifestyle more frequently.

“With the evolution of treatment products and technology, spas have been able to enhance their offerings and appeal to more travellers,” Kriel says.

While some growth is connected to the variety of treatments available, results and the digital world are also contributing to the wellness boom.

“The efficacy and benefits of these treatments continue to drive bookings and interest, especially with the support of social media, influencers, and celebrity endorsements,” Kriel says.

While genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, a diet free of processed foods, sufficient sleep, and human connection play essential roles in living well and longer, experts believe in holistic therapies to help manage stress, boost immunity, and ultimately influence length and quality of life.

Anti Ageing and Beyond

“For years, people have been coming to spas, booking treatments, and gaining advice on how to turn the clock back with anti ageing and corrective skin treatments,” Kriel says. However, today’s treatments are far more innovative.

On Marinella Beach in Porto Rotondo, on the Italian island of Sardinia, guests at the five-star Abi d’Oru Hotel & Spa can experience the resort’s one-of-a-kind “longevity treatment,” a unique antiaging facial using one of the island’s native grapes: Cannonau. The world’s first declared “Blue Zone”—one of five designated areas where people live longer than average, some into their 100s—Sardinia produces this robust red wine varietal, the most widely planted on the island.

Known as Garnacha in Spain and Grenache in France, Cannonau supposedly contains two to three times more antioxidants than other red-wine grapes. By incorporating Cannonau, Abi Spa says its unique 50-minute longevity session increases collagen production for firmer, younger-looking skin.

Maintaining a youthful appearance is just one facet of longevity treatments, which range from stress-reduction sessions like massage to nutritional support and sleep programs, Kriel says. Some retreats also offer medical services such as IV infusions and joint injections.

Keeping with the trend, Kriel is expanding Salamander Collection’s existing spa services, such as detox wraps and lymphatic drainage, to include dedicated “Wellness Rooms,” new vegan and vegetarian menu items, and well-being workshops. “Sleep, nutrition, and mindfulness will be a big focus for integration in 2024,” she says.

Data-Driven Wellness

Skyler Stillings, an exercise physiologist at Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort—an adults-only wellness centre in Lanai, Hawaii—says guests were drawn to the social aspect when the spa opened in November 2021.

“We saw a huge need for human connection,” she recalls. But over the past few years, what’s paramount has shifted. “Longevity is trending much more right now.”

Human connection is a central draw for guests at Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Billionaire co-founder of tech company Oracle Larry Ellison and physician and scientist Dr. David Angus co-founded Sensei. After the death of a mutual close friend, the duo teamed up to create longevity-based wellness retreats to nurture preventative care and a healthy lifestyle. In addition to the Lanai location, the brand established Sensei Porcupine Creek in Greater Palm Springs, California, in November 2022.

Sensei has a data-driven approach. The team performs a series of assessments to obtain a clearer picture of a guest’s health, making wellness recommendations based on the findings. While Sensei analyses that data to curate a personalised plan, Stillings says it’s up to the guests which path they choose.

Sensei’s core three-day retreat is a “Guided Wellness Experience.” For spa treatments, each guest checks into their own “Spa Hale,” a private 1,000-square-foot bungalow furnished with an infrared sauna, a steam shower, a soaking tub, and plunge pools. The latest therapies include Sarga Bodywalking—a barefoot myofascial release massage, and “Four Hands in Harmony,” a massage with two therapists working in tandem. Sensei Guides provide take-home plans so guests can continue their wellness journeys after the spa.

Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Sanctuaries for Longevity

Headquartered in Switzerland with hotels and on-site spas across the globe, Aman Resorts features an integrative approach, combining traditional remedies with modern medicine’s advanced technologies. Tucked behind the doors of the storied Crown Building in Midtown Manhattan, Banya Spa House at Aman New York—the brand’s flagship spa in the Western Hemisphere—is a 25,000-square-foot, three-floor urban oasis.

Yuki Kiyono, global head of health and wellness development at Aman, says the centre provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. Aman’s customisable “Immersion Programs” consist of a three- or five-day immersion. “The programs encompass treatments and experiences that touch every significant aspect to create a path for longevity, from meditation and mindfulness to nutrition and movement,” Kiyono explains.

Banya Spa House at Aman New York.
Robert Rieger

The spa’s “Tei-An Wellness Solution” features 90- to 150-minute sessions using massage, cryotherapy, and Vitamin IV infusions. Acupuncture is also on offer.

“With its rich history of Chinese Medicine, modern research, and the introduction of sophisticated electro-acupuncture medicine, acupuncture has been proven to assist with problems and increase performance,” Kiyono says.

Resetting the Mind and Body

Beyond longevity, “healthspan”—the number of years a person can live in good health free of chronic disease—is the cornerstone of Mountain Trek Health Reset Retreat’s program in British Columbia, Canada.

Kirk Shave, president and program director, and his team employ a holistic approach, using lifestyles in long-living Blue Zones as a point of reference.

“We improve our daily lifestyle habits, so we live vitally as long as we’re meant to live,” Shave says of the retreat. He built the program from an anthropological stance, referencing humans as farmers, hunters, and gatherers based on their eating and sleeping patterns. Food includes vegetable-centric meals sans alcohol, sugar, bread, or dairy.

Guests wake at dawn each day and have access to sunrise yoga, several hours of “flow” or slow hiking, spa treatments, forest bathing, calming crystal singing-bowl and sound therapy sessions, and classes on stress reduction—one of Mountain Trek’s primary goals. The program motivates people to spend much of their time in nature because it’s been proven to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone that can lead to inflammation and disease when elevated for extended periods.

While most guests aren’t aware of how immersive Mountain Trek’s program is when they arrive, they leave the resort revitalized after the structured, one-week program. Set in the Kootenays overlooking its eponymous river, the resort and adventure promise what Shave calls a “visceral experience of transformation.”

“They’re interested in coming to be in nature,” Shave says of the guests. “They hit a wall in their life and slipped backwards, so they know they need a reset.”

Banya Spa House at Aman New York provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being.
Robert Rieger

This article first appeared in the Winter 2024 issue of Mansion Global Experience Luxury.


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Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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