Through the Looking Glass 2002

Commission for Chairman’s Coffee Room at the Office of Public Works, Head Office, St. Stephen’s Green, 2001.

As I travelled through the various parts of 51, 52 and 53 St Stephens Green, Alice in Wonderland sprang to mind. There is an extraordinary mixture of buildings and styles representing its unique history. Various features struck me. In particular, for example, the very fine door in number 53 on the second floor, which opens onto a glass mirror. It is part of an elaborate symmetry and yet presents a fascinating puzzle. A network of corridors lead from one building to another, opening out into different styles as you travel along. A labyrinth of architectural details extends upwards and outwards from the viewer’s vantage. I also think it pertinent that part or elements of the wider building reside as an imaginary trace in the coffee room in the basement as an echo of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland.


Having a cup of coffee or tea is a ritual with its own history and ambience. This particular room is described as a coffee room as distinct from a dining room, or canteen. I therefore made a series of images from photos taken at Aras An Uachtarain, during a morning coffee ritual. The emphasis was on the formal quality of a domestic ritual.

Cake is often the dessert of choice for meals at ceremonial occasions, often enhanced by covering with icing. The Victoria sponge often referred to as the Sponge cake consists of jam sandwiched between 2 sponge cakes. The top of the cake is not iced or decorated and this cake is therefore a contradiction of sorts. It is my own concoction.

The eighth image is a mirror.

The images of the Water Jug and Water Glass are placed in the canteen adjacent to the coffee room.

Design: iCulture