Elevator mirrors can be something of a double edged sword. While they offer an opportunity for a last minute straightening of the hair or checking of appearance, the image they reflect back is not often exactly the most flattering. However, while we tend to use the mirrors in elevators as a vanity accessory, there are some other more important reasons why you’re confronted with your own face when you step inside a lift.
There are many safety related reasons for having a mirror in an elevator. For example, you can see what everyone else in the lift is doing – lift mirrors have played a role in spotting theft and even predicting an assault. In Japan – which is thought to be where the lift mirror was first introduced – the purpose is accessibility. Platform lifts can make buildings accessible for wheelchair users where stairs present an obstacle. However, the size of the lift may mean that there is no space for a wheel chair user to turn around inside it. The placement of mirrors helps someone in a wheelchair to back in or out of the lift safely without having to turn. This can prevent accidents and make life easier for anyone with a physical disability using your building.
Getting claustrophobic in a lift is a very common problem for many people. The small space, the lack of air, the inability to see what’s happening in the mechanism are all factors that contribute to the kind of anxiety in small spaces that gives us sweaty palms and a raised heartbeat. Having a mirror in a lift helps to reduce this anxiety. It adds a sense of more space to an elevator, making it feel less cramped and small and helping to avoid feelings of being trapped. For many, a mirror is a better alternative to clear glass through which the ground below can be seen – which brings a whole new set of vertigo type problems of its own.
It’s very easy to get bored in a lift and mirrors are a good way to provide a distraction. That way, people are less likely to complain about the time spent in a lift or to see it as wasted. Whether you’re using the mirror to fix your hair or check out the other occupants, without the mirror in there everyone would just have to stare at the floor.