Isn't Acrylic just plastic?

Acrylic is a clear high grade plastic made primarily from petroleum.   Yes, it's a form of plastic, but just as there are different grades of metals or woods, there are different grades of plastic. Particle board is technically wood, but then so is solid cherry or walnut, and aluminum is a metal, but then again so is platinum or gold.  Cell cast acrylic made by a reputable maker, most commonly found in the United States, is usually the best and what we use here at Alexandra Von Furstenberg. The misconceptions about acrylic, because it is a form of plastic, is that it either yellows or scratches easily.  Cheap plastic will yellow in the sun, but high quality cell cast acrylic will not, and unlike glass or lacquers, scratches in acrylic can be buffed out. 

Acrylic, Lucite, Plexiglass, Perspex:  What's the difference?

Other names, such as Lucite (Perspex) or Plexiglass(Acrylite) have all been used when referring to high grade Acrylic.  They are all trademarked brand names of acrylic basically like “Kleenex” is to facial tissue or "Scotch" is to adhesive tape.

Acrylic versus Glass

Acrylic is similar to glass, but acrylic has characteristics that make it superior to glass in many ways.  First off, it is many times stronger than glass, more impact resistant, and safer. In fact, a 32mm thick piece of acrylic (just over 1”) is actually bullet proof.  Acrylic is also only 50% the weight of glass, can be sawed allowing for more design possibilities and it can be shaped as well as glued seamlessly together.  Last but not least, as mentioned before, scratches in acrylic can be buffed out where as in glass it cannot.

What makes Acrylic Furniture so valuable?

Acrylic is made in sheets.  The thicker the sheet, the more expensive, and difficult it is to maintain the crystal clear quality that its sought after for.  Also, because it's made primarily from petroleum, its price is related directly to the price of oil.  Lastly, most acrylic furniture, and all of AVF’s pieces are not only made by hand, but the steps needed to make an AVF piece require them to be.  Learn more in "The Making of an Alexandra Von Furstenberg Acrylic Table".