Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The “New” Plastic

One of my favorite things about starting a new project or space, is the discovery of new products. As I delve into online design research, often I dig up wonderful new resources for furnishings and materials.

As I continue working a multi-room interior design for the Rosen household, I came across a fantastic resource for Polycarbonate and Polyamide furniture; or known as in layman’s terms, transparent plastic and solid plastic. I find the best companies for manufacturing this technique come out of Italy.
Colored Transparent Chairs by the Calligaris Comapany of Italy
Polycarbonate, (Transparent Plastic), is a thermoplastic polymer with superb optical properties (dyes can be added to produce a wide range of transparent, translucent and opaque colours) that is both extremely strong and resistant to weathering and fading, knocks, and warping. It is recyclable and will not damage the environment.

Polyamides, (Plastic or Nylons – DuPont) are a family of thermoplastic polymers with a high quality, hard surface finish that is resistant to wear, extreme temperatures, aggressive chemical agents (with the exception of alkali acids and alcohols) and UV rays. It can be dyed using masters or coated. 
Amber Transparent Chair Back with Solid Black Seat and Aluminum Legs

One of my favorite chair designs is the “Alchemia” featuring what I refer to as the “spider web chair”.
As described by the Calligaris Company, this modern, brightly coloured chair has a striking backrest design composed of cut-out triangles resembling the structure of an atom.
A techno polymer monoblock made using the Airmoulding process makes Alchemia an extremely sturdy, lightweight and easy to clean chair.
Stackable up to 6 chairs high, this chair can be used in different spaces such as bars, cafeterias or around the family dining table. 
Alchemia Chair

The beauty of these transparent plastics lies in creating an intriguing “ghost effect” making for a light and airy interior design solution. 

however, A word of caution. 
This material is susceptible to scratching much like glass. Jean rivets, belt buckles, dangling bracelets with sharp edges are a few of the culprits. A chair cushion could solve this problem yet may detract from the original intended aesthetic. 
Most maintenance issues for all furnishings in general, (including wood, steel, fabric), usually depend on the homeowners’ tolerance for wear and who will use the merchandise. The solid color plastics, with the exception of shiny black, show less scratching than the clear transparent. The color in the plastic is not surface applied, it is through body. This makes the wear factor look better and last longer than in the transparents. The colored transparents fair better than the clear transparent.

Don’t be scared off! These plastics are quite durable and tough. It takes some doing to initiate an abrasion.  
The Plus Side.
These polymides and polycarbanotes are ever so easy to clean. Simply wipe with damp cloth using a 4:1diluted ratio of water to soap. They are light weight and easy to stack and store. And depending on the style, tend to be one of the lesser expensive dining chairs out there in the market today. 

Despite some of the practical concerns, who could resist surrounding the family dining table with these conversation starters? 

                                       Beautiful . Fun . New . Comfortable


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