Transparency in Contemporary Furniture: Modern Glass and Acrylic

There is a significant trend in interior design, and has been for several years now, involving the use of “invisible” materials, such as acrylic and glass. These substances are making a comeback particularly in contemporary furniture designs, sort of an updated throwback to mid-century designs. (You can learn about what does contemporary mean in the design world, if you’re interested.) Check out how transparency with glass and acrylic helps to create modern, distinct, and uber cool contemporary pieces.

Wavy “Waterfall” Glass.

Some of us might associate wavy glass with glass shower doors or other versions of privacy glass, but its use in modern furniture is expanding. Wavy glass maintains the visual transparency of regular glass, but it adds a dimension of variance in texture and reflection that it becomes much more than just a “plane of glass.”

Glass & Gold.

The classic combination of clear glass with gold accents will forever be a staple in sophisticated interiors. The absolute visual presence of metallic is a perfect contrast to the practically invisibility of glass, yet the two are yoked in their shine and reflective properties. This makes them a timeless pairing and a desirable combination for today’s home designs.

Glass Table Tops.

Glass as a table top, whether it be a coffee, side, end, or dining table, has become more common over the past years. This is likely due to a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that, due to glass’s transparency, it showcases the architectural design of the modern table’s base. Which is generally designed to be noticed, indeed.

This is another excellent example where a glass top showcases the details of a well-designed table base. The varied heights of these small tables makes them a great pair, but they are interesting enough, design-wise, that they could stand on their own beautifully, too.

Colored Acrylic.

Not all plastic/acrylic/Lucite is going to be clear. This chair is an excellent example of the look that can be achieved when color is incorporated. It’s an utterly fantastic, completely unique twist on acrylic – a perfect fit for the modern day home that craves individuality so desperately.

The Finishing Touch.

Often, and ironically, transparent materials used in modern design are meant to be the sort of pièce de résistance to the entire whole. (I say “ironically” because these materials are the least visually apparent.) Why this is the case, I’m not exactly sure – perhaps because it requires an observer to study the piece a little more closely, knowing that there’s more than what first meets the eye. These glass-tipped pendants embody this concept of “hidden treasure,” as well.

Acrylic Functionality.

If you want the full attention on the rest of your piece, acrylic detailing is an excellent option. These fun and funky modern “cheese grater” pendants can hang almost invisibly from their acrylic hooks. The transparent hook also helps to emphasize the beautiful braided cording, rather than distract from it.

Glass-Topped Desk.

Let yourself “see” how productive you can be with a glass-topped work desk! This is a less common use for glass-topped tables, but it is every bit as modern and fresh as it could be. The key to keeping a glass desk top looking clean and contemporary is to keep the entire space free of clutter, because it definitely shows everything (above AND below).

Protective Surface.

It’s no roll-out clear vinyl, like what your sweet grandma puts over the tablecloth for Sunday dinner or whatever, but acrylic and glass can have be as functionally protective as visually aesthetic. Particularly on a piece made of softer wood, a clear protective (permanent) cover can keep the piece looking new for a long time. (Bonus: The extra bouncing around of the light is extra brightening for the space!)

Colorfully Transparent.

It’s no surprise that clear materials, such as glass and acrylic, find an ideal home in lighting fixtures. These tinted acrylic lampshades provide a hip, quirky accent to a minimal lamp base. The end result? Gorgeous lighting with a modern design.

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