20 Jan Furniture made out of light: Plexiglas fittings
Furniture Made out of Light: Plexiglas Fittings
Plexiglas is a synthetic polymer developed in various American laboratories from 1928 which was brought to market in 1933 by the Germ firm Rohm and Haas Company (GmbH & Co. KG) in 1933. Due to the fact that it is heat resistant, transparent and hard wearing, Plexiglas was used immediately to make submarine periscopes, and windshields, canopies, and gun turrets for airplanes. It has been widely used ever since in the transport industry as well as the health sector for making false teeth, lenses and prostheses etc.
Today, a huge range of normal household objects are made with this material as it can be quickly moulded into forms and panels without having to use any sophisticated equipment.
Plexiglas is structured in a similar way to plastic, making it both elastic and robust (as long as the right thickness is used). It has a unique colour that is very different to glass (which is less transparent when too thick as well as becoming very heavy and taking on a blue/green tinge). Plexiglas and all methacrylate variants maintain their transparency even when they are around 1 cm thick. For all of the above reasons, Plexiglas is one of the designer’s favourite materials when making shop fittings.
Sartoretto Verna conceives acrylic glass as material light, able to bring products closer to the customer and capable of freeing products from rigid shelf units. Light passes through acrylic glass, illuminating all the surrounding surfaces uniformly. The most brightly lit objects stand out and seem suspended in mid-air as if by an invisible thread, inviting customers to come and pick them up. Research into the effect of light and colour on consumers confirm that people prefer softy-lit interiors to bright ones as soft mood lighting is a sort of anecdote to the stress and rush of modern day living. Acrylic glass is the most suitable material to achieve this lighting effect.
Methacrylate gondolas on wheels are luminous and create islands of colour in the centre of the pharmacy or in a strategic position. They double facing and have 5 shelves on each side. The lowest one is made out of inox steel and acts as the base, The other 4 are made out of transparent acrylic glass moulded into tub shaped containers that can be angled towards the floor or ceiling. The opaque acrylic glass sides and sign on top are lit up and feature logos and/or banners. They can be combined with other gondolas too.
The ®Ral System1 display units have back-lit shelf dividers that make the prescription or cosmetics counter glow. This system has evolved using new materials to allow products to be illuminated from all directions. The source of light is brought out to the front of the display unit, calling customers over. Flat-screen multimedia displays can also be installed, making it an advanced and innovate sales machine.
The ®Ral System 2’s brightly lit one-person counters bring customers over to key sectors, highlighting the product’s category and attracting passer-by’s attention when the pharmacy’s lights are turned off at night. The counter is an active means of communication which is part of a pharmacy’s core hardware.
In the shop window, a forest of bamboo in transparent methacrylate changes colour and attracts the attention of passers-by. The idea comes from long thin canes of bamboo which have been transformed into transparent illuminated methacrylate ®Ralboo poles that change colour (the colour’s brightness and the frequency with which it changes colour can be varied). The base has a pivot allowing the bamboo canes to be rotated and they can be combined together to create an infinite range of displays. Products are displayed upon methacrylate circular shelves akin to “leaves” whose position is variable.