April 24, 2004|By Danielle Reed, The Wall Street Journal.
Scott Ward’s new bed was custom-built by an architect, but there’s not abundant to see — literally. The abject of the king-size bed is glass, and the arduous awning has aloof one twinkly detail: cilia eyes alloyed into the bolt that about-face on and off. “It’s counterintuitive,” says Ward, a developer in Palo Alto, Calif. “It makes you think.”
In a acknowledgment adjoin the dark, traditionalist adornment that bent on in the backward ’90s, homeowners are redoing sections of their homes in apparent style, installing aggregate from bottle floors and walls to bright broiler mantels. Lucite furniture, advised a antique of ’70s kitsch aloof a few years ago, is authoritative a comeback, with sales at some makers like Plexi-Craft up 10 percent in the accomplished year and 30 percent back 2000. Home Depot’s Expo Architectonics centermost has 40 percent added bottle tiles for auction this year than in 2003. Aloof out at the New York DKNY shop: clear-cut pillows that go for $1,100 a pair.
It’s allotment of a lighter attending that’s surfacing in aggregate from architecture, area bottle is acceptable the new titanium, to fashion, area houses like Calvin Klein are now peddling Lucite and cadger shoes. Other factors accommodate ’70s homesickness and architects casting about for article altered to advertise to clients.
But architectonics experts acquaint that homeowners and their housekeepers should be up to the assignment afore advance in the almost there look, both from a wear-and-tear and a charwoman perspective.
“It’s a above fingerprint attractor,” says Los Angeles autogenous artist Chris Barrett, who’s accomplishing a abode in Manhattan Beach with bottle or cellophane abstracts over three-quarters of its surfaces. “You’d apparently charge a accumulator closet for your Windex alone.”
New abstracts can be fragile, too: Palo Alto developer Ward complains his Lucite cocktail bar was aching aural the aboriginal anniversary it was installed.
Plastic and Lucite aren’t new, architectonics experts are quick to point out.
Lucite became accepted in 1940s Art Moderne furniture; by the 1970s about every home had at atomic a coffee table fabricated of it.
There was affluence of bottle acclimated in mid-20th aeon avant-garde architecture, too, with Philip Johnson architecture a acclaimed all-glass abode in New Canaan, Conn., in 1949.
But now, the old abstracts are actuality updated, acclimated in new ways, or angry into high-tech statements, acknowledgment to the advice of innovations like ultraviolet glues that acquiesce bottle to be absorbed to walls and appliance with no supports showing.
Luminex, for example, is the new clear-cut bolt with cilia eyes alloyed in that’s actuality pushed by the Italian electronics firm, Caen — which teamed up with Stabio Textile, a Swiss fabrics close — while Birmingham Bottle & Mirror in Royal Oak, Mich., has articles like bottle panels with ribbons and rice anchored in them.
Elsewhere, designers like Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz are creating Lucite replicas of 17th-century antiques and bottle walls as partitions.
In Chicago, artist Lucien Lagrange afresh completed that city’s aboriginal all steel-and-glass residential belfry back Mies van der Rohe’s 1948 “Twin Towers.” Frank Gehry is planning a 60-foot-high bottle window and bottle roof for the Art Gallery of Ontario in his built-in Toronto.
For non-profit administrator Jann Stulberg, bottle additions helped transform the accomplished attending of what had been a aphotic Chicago apartment.
Between a new bendable blooming bottle backsplash in her kitchen and glass-covered doors in her bedroom, Stulberg no best feels “closed off” back she’s at home. “Now, it’s all accessible and light, and we’re abundant happier in it.”
In New York, artist Noriega-Ortiz was activity for a floating-cushion attending with his custom-built Lucite sofa. “People do a bifold booty back they airing in,” he says, but “it’s absolutely absolutely adequate to sit in.”
But the apparent attending has its detractors, from those who don’t like the minimalist bulletin to applied association who anticipate about architectonics in agreement of how family- and pet-friendly it is. Other issues: Lucite’s once-tacky image, budget (you charge a appropriate antistatic cleaner to clean bottomward Lucite) and faddishness.
“Glass tiles — I don’t absolutely adulation them,” says New York artist Paul Siskin. “Too trendy. You ability get ailing of them afterwards a while.”
Or, like Valerie Zucker, homeowners may see it artlessly as a assignment — and a aching one at that.
The Miami arranger bought a townhouse for its huge ceiling-to-floor windows and sliding bottle doors. Not alone does she accept them bankrupt weekly, but she’s suffered bruises afterwards active into the sliding aperture that she anticipation was open.
“I accept bumped into them abounding times,” she says. “When you hit a window, it’s appealing substantial.”
Still, fashion-conscious homeowners like the absolutely altered attending of bottle and Lucite.
Allison Sarofim, babe of advance adviser Fayez Sarofim, was afresh featured in Vogue with Lucite appliance that creates a “James Bond” attending in the basement of her New York townhouse.
And in the February issue, Architectural Digest chose to highlight an accommodation advised by Geoffrey Bradfield that included a Lucite animate and chairs in its foyer.
“There’s a lot in our ability which is heavy,” says editor Paige Rense. “To see article ablaze and cellophane is uplifting.”
Designers say the attending can additionally break blueprint problems.
“The new attic affairs in avant-garde homes are added open,” says Florida artist Dawn Causa. “But bodies still charge rooms. Bottle and cellophane walls are a way to actualize break and still accumulate an accessible feeling.”
She estimates that she’s put up about 40 percent added bottle walls in clients’ homes in the accomplished two years, compared with the two years afore that.
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