Two big features of modern design involve playing with flattened or simplified modern silhouettes and featuring unusual materials, like plastic. Acrila is one of my favorite examples of a design company that not only combines these ideas, but takes them to the next level. With everything from accent furniture to lighting, Acrila produces pieces that pay homage to the classics, but have a look that’s totally fresh and new.
Now, Acrila is far from the only company out there that’s re-exploring antique furniture designs in plastics. In fact, Mexico-based PolArt and PolRey do that exactly (and almost exclusively). But rather than the colorful resin-cast antique replicas they produce, French-based Acrila’s furniture and accessories are made entirely of high-quality acrylic that’s individually cut and folded to duplicate the silhouettes of easily-recognizable antiques.
The finished look is striking, whether you opt for their most common clear option or one of any number of clear or opaque colors, evoking the intricacy of traditional designs with a surprisingly minimalist modern twist. Many of Acrila’s products also include the option to have images printed directly onto the glass – specifically ones that add an extra layer of that antique feel, with details like printed woodwork and brocade fabrics that make them look a bit more like the furniture from PolArt, but with an eye-catching 3D effect… and no difficult-to-clean detail work.
And these aren’t junky plastic chairs: they’re made with the highest grade Plexiglas and guaranteed not to cloud or discolor with age. While the surface isn’t totally immune to scratching, it is scratch resistant and much more durable than you’d expect. Plus, most wear and tear can easily be buffed out. Acrila’s furniture is even durable enough to be used outside – it won’t rust or become brittle, and won’t be damaged by sun or exposure. Many of the chairs are even stackable!
That said, one of my favorite uses of this flattened traditional look has always been for lighting, and Acrila doesn’t disappoint, with lamps that take the shape of ornate antiques, but that are anything but old-fashioned. Rather than really intricate printed details, these tend to be embellished with simple lines that emphasize the edges of the Plexiglas, turning a simple lighting fixture into a bold statement piece.
On the other hand, if you like the look of the bold, printed acrylic but aren’t a big fan of all things baroque, you’re in luck: not all of Acrila’s furniture draws inspiration from traditional detailing. While that is admittedly a good chunk of what they offer, they also have pieces that are a little more unusual – modern, daring, and often a bit off-the-wall – that make the most of their transparent glass cutting and printing technologies to get both unique shapes and bold, colorful designs.
Acrila even has a few items in its collection that are meant to mimic nature rather than anything man-made – antique or otherwise. From fun (if not totally realistic) cacti accents to surprisingly believable wood-slice tables, they use their Plexiglas to brilliant effect, creating the illusion of depth on a perfectly smooth, flat surface that mimics both resin and glass.
Whether you love the chic, striking look of flattened, updated antique designs, or just want to make a statement with an unusual and eye-catching piece, Acrila’s work is worth a look. Not only do they create innovative effects with a high-quality material, but the end result is durable, versatile, and doesn’t require any of the fussy care you’d expect from what looks like a museum quality piece!