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Plastic: from industry to decoration

Plastic: from industry to decoration


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Unlike other materials like iron, glass or steel, the history of plastic is quite recent. It was in the 19th century in England that Alexandre Parkes, working on natural rubber, obtained a first type of celluloid, called Parkesine. The first samples were presented in 1862 at the Universal Exhibition in London. After the First World War, the plastics industry developed. But it was with the Second World War that the use of plastic began to take off. Short of raw materials, the industry turns to plastic, which is more accessible and cheaper. By adding mica (one of the constituents of granite), we invent Formica! By adding silk, we invent nylon for parachutes and stockings! The 1950s then saw the development of designers' creativity to make plastic a sought-after material. Verner Panton (1926-1998), famous Danish designer created in 1960 the S chair all in plastic and designed in one piece. It's a revolution! Plastic is gradually becoming essential for everyday objects, whether in large cities or small remote villages. But the 1973 oil shock slowed the phenomenon. In recent years, plastic has come back in force in the home. The greatest designers use it, like the French Philippe Starck (born in 1949) who dresses the great classics in polyethylene or polycarbonate, including the famous Louis Ghost armchair (for Kartell in 2002). The future of plastic is played out today in new materials that are more respectful of the environment. To discover the whole history of pop plastics from the 1960s to the present day, the Plasticarium museum in Brussels brings together a whole collection of works of art, furniture and household appliances from the time. Created by Philippe Decelle, this unique museum in the world is a place not to be missed. Phone. 0032 (0) 2 344 98 21. 10 euros for entry.

PANTON CHAIR Designed in 1960 by the famous designer Verner Panton and made in one piece, this injection molded plastic chair has become an icon of design. It is reissued by Vitra and designed in tinted polypropylene. Panton model, Silvera. 232 euros

LOUIS GHOST ARMCHAIR Designed by Philippe Starck in 2002, this famous armchair is a resumption of the Louis XVI armchair, in a more… contemporary style! Made of transparent polycarbonate, it also exists in green, blue yellow, orange, smoked, or opaque (black or white). Louis Ghost model, Silvera. 242 euros



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