Design: She trips the light fantastic

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The Independent Culture
REVOLVING MIRROR-tiled glitter globes, which have been reflecting romantic darts of light in ballrooms since the 1920s, have suddenly got bigger and funkier. Kay Spinks makes them up to seven feet high, in complex, geometric shapes that turn the dark interiors of nightclubs and discos into swirling kaleidoscopes.

Mirror globes merely remind dancers that they are enclosed in a cube. But what about a dodecahedron, or the massive helix that revolves in the stairwell of London's Hanover Grand nightclub? It makes the clubbers going up and down the winding staircase feel as though they are passing through a spiral galaxy.

Legends, the Mayfair nightclub, has a three-foot wide dodecahedron with 12 spheres on stalks, which bounces coloured lights off the diadems worn by all-night revellers.

Spinks, a 27-year-old art college graduate, is the founder of London design company Glitter and Twisted. She sculpts shapes from fire-retardant polystyrene, then sticks on up to 20,000 rubber-backed mirror tiles with fire-retardant glue.

Brendan Clarke, of Insight Lighting of Islington in north London, provides lighting for social events and has so far bought three of Spinks's creations. "They're amazing," he says. They have a glitziness that reaches beyond normal disco lighting and into the future.

"We project imagery on to them - an oil effect, for example - which breaks up and goes everywhere. They describe their own shape on the surface of the room. You can get some quite amazing effects, such as crossed reflections. I'm surprised that more people are not buying them for the home."

Spinks has made 20 "mirror objects", as she calls them, since launching Glitter and Twisted in February. The designs are commissioned by clients - with the help of a textbook of geometric shapes - and take four weeks to make.

She says: "I like to make shapes with geometric forms, some sort of order. If the forms are too organic, they get tricky."

The Opera House nightclub in Bournemouth has also installed six glittering sculptures by Spinks. These are similar to the one in the Hanover Grand, which is a popular hangout with the Spice Girls and Leonardo di Caprio.

Twysden Moore, director of the Hanover Grand, encouraged her to reach for the stars and build a 7ft-tall glitter sculpture for the club. Powered by an electric motor in the ceiling, it reflects red, yellow and white light from spotlights on to the purple walls.

"It creates a flowing sensation," he says. "Glitter globes have been used since the 1920s, but they're still relevant to the modern dance scene. They're so simple - and so beautiful."


Prices: pounds 800-pounds 1,200. Glitter and Twisted, 0171-281 9319