As I was researching some additional possibilities for a client’s desk chair my mind wandered from the beautiful wood and upholstered chair we had originally selected to seeing nothing at all. Yes, what about a clear chair? Lucite or acrylic furniture can make a fine statement without leaving a heavy presence in the room. It’s great in small doses. Wonderful in small spaces. And adds a touch of modern class to ones space.
Lucite is not an inexpensive alternative to handcrafted wood furnishings. Why so? I was always told you pay for the waste as perfection is key. An article I pulled from www.shelterpop.com says that there are many things which play into the high stakes world of Lucite. 1.) Petroleum is its primary ingredient, which makes Lucite very dependent on the price of oil. Secondly, each piece is customarily made by hand — There’s no manufacturing in China here. “Typically, each piece is cut, fitted, glued and polished by hand,” notes Allen Frechter of Plexi-Craft, a manufacture of high quality Lucite furnishings. “The amount of labor that goes into a piece is comparable to a high-end piece of wood furniture.” 2.) Furthering the complexity of the manufacturing process, Lucite comes in sheets that must be blemish free. The thicker the Lucite sheet, the pricier it is in order to maintain the clarity standard. “The transparency of the material can’t hide blemishes,” Frechter says. “If there’s even a slight imperfection, it causes discoloration once it’s molded and fitted, and even the smallest piece of dust will cause a blemish that will need to be polished again.” Therefore, larger pieces of Lucite or furniture with many parts — as each piece must be fitted and polished accordingly — tend to tip the scales. What’s the cheap stuff? There are look-alike materials, like polycarbonate, which are less expensive as they can be mass manufactured using a mold.
The link below from House Beautiful showcases a variety of Lucite pieces from various manufactures, including the Hickory Chair end table below by Designer Mariette Himes Gomez. IKEA offers their version of material in the Tobias chair show below also. Whatever your room or budget, there are ways to put a little fun into it with this classic material.