When transparent furniture is mentioned, the first thing to come to mind may be glass. But clear plastic, AKA poly(methyl methacrylate), AKA acrylic glass, Lucite, Acrylite, Perspex or Plexiglass, has advantages over glass that can’t be ignored. It can be formed into any conceivable shape without joints or hardware, and is virtually shatterproof, making it a far safer and more durable option for chairs and tables. It somehow looks both contemporary and timeless, making it a fantastic material for transitional rooms — consider the Philippe Starck Louis Ghost Armchair, which combines a shape reminiscent of centuries past with clear or colored plastic construction. Learn to style this modern classic five ways by clicking here.
Another advantage of translucent furniture is its barely-there visual weight, which makes it a great choice where space is at a premium. Light streams right through and the balance of the room is almost unaffected by its presence, creating a look that is serene and uncluttered. Designers are even taking advantage of clear plastic to product light fixtures in unique shapes, like the Jellyfish and the Bloom.
Perhaps the most recognizable manufacturer of translucent furniture working today is Italy’s Kartell. Founded in 1949, Kartell continues to surprise with bold designs. In collaboration with iconic designers — plus the occasional celebrity like Lenny Kravitz — they produce furniture and lighting in a wide variety of materials and finishes, but it’s Kartell’s ongoing experimentation with clear plastics that produces their most exciting products. Current highlights include the Invisible Side Table, the Red Dot Award-winning Uncle Jim Arm Chair and the Miss Less Accent Chair.