Take the characteristics of crystal glass, combine them with plastics innovation, and the result is Lucite – an acrylic material that is about eight times clearer than glass and much more versatile.
Lucite does not crack or chip as easily as glass and scratches can be easily buffed out. What’s more, Lucite can be carved into jewel-like pieces or molded into a variety of forms, from furniture to the heels of high fashion shoes.
Sleek, sheer, sophisticated, and sparkly–Lucite has many admirable qualities for use in fashion and design. It has an elegance that allows designers to tap into a futurist aesthetic while emulating vintage designs. In fact, vintage versions of household items like Dorothy Thopr candlesticks often spark bidding wars on eBay. Chanel recently hocked its Lucite tote for close to $1,000. Philippe Starck’s “Ghost Chair” is a lovely example of the modernist aesthetic Lucite brings to a classic design. Did we mention it comes in a Barbie edition?
Long a staple of the art and design world, Lucite, which is technically known as polymethyl methacrylate, has recently appeared in a new and very different form. Microcapsules of Lucite are the secret behind a new kind of body art that glows under the black lights that are often found in dance clubs. “Chameleon Tattoo Ink,” incorporating Lucite microcapsules, is virtually imperceptible in daylight, but when the tattoo is seen under a black light, the design literally glows.
Originally brought to market in1933 by Rohm and Haas Company, Lucite has enjoyed several revivals including in the 1960s and 1970s, the 1990s, and in the 21st century, which is why you can find Lucite or acrylic accessories and furniture from various periods on eBay, in antique stores, flea markets, and high end furniture galleries.