Designing with ACRYLITE® Creates Excitement, Ambiance and Illusion




Animal habitat at zoo designed with ACRYLITE®Architects, artists and designers enjoy the challenge of using interesting, novel materials to enhance the beauty and design of their projects.  ACRYLITE®, an acrylic plastic manufactured by Evonik Industries, is that type of inspirational material used to create excitement, ambiance and illusion in a broad range of designs, from buildings to pools to sculptures.

Here are three fascinating ACRYLITE® applications, each of which was inspired by the material’s unique combination of transparency, brilliance and strength.  These stories are highlights from DESIGN IN ACRYLICS magazine, a publication by Evonik Industries, manufacturer of ACRYLITE®.

A Veritable Block of Water Created from ACRYLITE®

In the complete makeover of a high-rise penthouse on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, panels of ACRYLITE® were used to create a pool that looks something akin to a block of water that has been carved out of the ocean and installed on the roof. Combined with a panoramic view of the ocean beyond, the visual effect is truly spectacular.

Penthouse pool created from ACRYLITE® According to architectural and design firm Aquatonic, who are experts in water structures and  have worked with ACRYLITE® for many years, elevation was the biggest challenge to this project because the pool is located high atop the 27th floor.  They used a 143-ton crane, the biggest one available in the region, to convey the three huge pool panels (each weighing up to 1.1 metric tons) to the penthouse roof.

“ACRYLITE® is the ideal material for this design,” says Marco Giaroli, Managing Director of Aquatonic. “It is much clearer than glass, which tends to look green.  Another advantage is that ACRYLITE® has the same light refraction index as water, so people in the pool may seem to be somewhat removed from their actual positions, but they do not appear in any way distorted to the eye of the beholder and colors remain true to life.”

Zoo Uses ACRYLITE® to Separate Visitors and African Animals

Constructed of highly transparent blocks of ACRYLITE®, the Hippodom exhibit at the Cologne Zoo in West Germany is designed so visitors can walk right through the middle of the hippo and crocodile habitat and come literally face-to-face with these exotic species.

ACRYLITE® separates zoo animals and visitorsACRYLITE® was chosen for this application because of its extreme stability and impact strength.  The hippo basin alone holds 580 cubic meters of water, which can be seen so clearly through the highly transparent material that it appears to stop in thin air.  Even when the Cologne hippos aren’t pressing their bodies against the aquarium glazing, it is still exposed to constant water pressure, which is the fundamental problem of using water in architecture.

“The project was very challenging because of the structural calculations. It wouldn’t have worked with a sheet of glass,” says Bernward Bielawski, Managing Director of Biacryl, who manufactured the sheet for the large aquarium.  “Being able to bond the blocks without visible joints is one of the strengths of ACRYLITE® for aquarium building.  Apart from that, glass often has a green tinge, especially when it’s thick.”

A Grove of Illuminated Shapes Demonstrates the Beauty of ACRYLITE® Satin Ice

In an arrestingly dramatic light installation display at ActewAGL’s headquarters building in Canberra, Australia, designer Robert Foster has impressively demonstrated the ability of ACRYLITE® Satin Ice to perfectly diffuse light.  His design, which consists of 37 illuminated objects that look like tusks, give the appearance of movement through illumination that changes color either every hour or when visitors walk through the installation.

Sculpture demonstrates beauty of ACRYLITE® Satin Ice“I wanted to convey the sense that the viewer is moving through a forest of tall illuminated forms, creating the feeling that is somewhere between being in the presence of ancient spirits and the hint of strange creatures from the future,“ says Foster, the chief designer and founder of F!nk & Co, a Canberra-based design outfit.

The superior ability of ACRYLITE® Satin Ice Snow to diffuse light, along with its durability and resistance to scratching, made it the best product for this project, Foster explained.  “The material distributes light evenly across the entire surface of the tusks, thus enhancing the effect produced by the illuminated tapered forms.  The internally fitted system of LED lights provided by Coolon Lighting remains invisible to the eye, with the forms themselves appearing to be the actual source of the light.”

Keep Reading…

If you’ve enjoyed reading about these ACRYLITE®-influenced designs, see the DESIGN IN ACRYLICS magazine by Evonik Industries for more articles on architecture, interior design and artistic applications.  To purchase ACRYLITE® for your next project, contact the team at E&T Plastics.


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