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NY, NY — From lavish Florentine villas to hip Manhattan nurseries, acrylic is having a renaissance.


A plastic derivative often referred to by its commercial names, Lucite and Plexiglass, the material is increasingly embraced by exacting tastemakers and their peers in high-end design circles.


“I love acrylic’s playfulness and practicality. It doesn’t break, but the weight is so good, you don’t think ‘this is plastic,’ ” says Lee, who stocks Giusti’s faceted glasses and tableware in her Flatiron showroom, chilling Champagne in his faux crystal — and bright blue — Antarctica Ice Buckets (pictured below right, $180). “Until a few years ago, you could see the seam in the acrylic. Today it’s seamless, so it looks great.”


Acrylic hasn’t always been so beloved. First marketed in the late 1930s by chemical companies Dupont and Rohm & Haas, acrylic starred in designer Gilbert Rohde’s furniture collection for the 1939 World’s Fair (he later played a key creative role at Herman Miller) and was a critical component in military equipment during World War II. In the 1970s, acrylic furniture enjoyed another swell of popularity before falling out of favor because of what Adler calls acrylic’s “Boca association” — the sense that it was the design element of choice for Florida’s groovy geriatrics, passé for contemporary design, even a bit tacky.


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