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Publication Date: 2012-08-13


Crystal Clear: Living Large with Lucite

ELLE DECOR recently featured a piece in their “Truth in Decorating” section depicting the timeless chic of plastic furniture. Of the many passing fancies exhibited at the 1939 World’s Fair, the acrylic resin known by the trade names Lucite and Plexiglas has proven its staying power.

Crystal clear, easily shaped, and strong, the material has inspired countless designers, from Gilbert Rohde, whose Plexiglas-and-tubular-steel chair debuted at the fair, to Karl Springer and Charles Hollis Jones in the 1960s and ’70s. And now designers Dragonette Ltd. and Pagoda Red showcase this material in their storefronts.

“The early designers were adventurous, taking the material to the max,” says decorator Vincenzo Avanzato. “Now it’s coming back.” A Lucite piece can be a whimsical accent in a room, adding a hint of luminescence, he says. “And since it’s nearly invisible, it doesn’t take up visual space.”

As designer Laura Kirar points out, transparency is a sure sign of quality. “The joints and seams almost disappear in a well-made piece,” she says, whether it’s a clean-lined design or a new take on an antique style. “I’ve always loved using a modern material to reinvent a classic form.”

Dragonette Ltd’s interpretation of the classical klismos wins praise from Vincenzo Avanzato: “I like how detailed it is,” he says, noting the decorative back panel. “The designer seems to have copied a perfect chair, but in acrylic.” He imagines the piece as an accent in a living room. “But a set of these with seat cushions would also be great around a dining table,” he adds.

In referencing the Invisible Drum Stool by July Zhou from Pagoda Red, Avanzato says he “would use this in a heartbeat … This is a difficult piece to make, but it’s well constructed, with very pretty curves.” The stool would work in either a casual or formal living area, he advises. “It could serve as an extra seat in a pinch or as a small drinks table.”

Text by Laura Regensdorf / Photography by Bjorn Wallander / Produced by Quy Nguyen


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