Can You See Me Now?
Eva Hagberg -- Interior Design, 3/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
It's a rare showroom that displays the customers as much as the goods. But an architectural use of Panelite's own product has rendered the company's New York headquarters a veritable panorama of elusive transparency and misleading opacity. Not that anyone minds.
"We have a lovefest with our clients," boasts company cofounder Christian Mitman, and the showroom is indeed an ode to the translucent honeycomb panels that he developed with cofounder Emmanuelle Bourlier. Mitman and Panelite product specialist Hallie Taylor designed every inch of the 1,000-square-foot showroom to highlight the versatility of their proprietary material, showing firsthand the ways that it can modulate light, provide privacy, and aesthetically define an interior.
The reception area—its curved desk produced in collaboration with the Office for Metropolitan Architecture—is defined on one side by "directionally transparent" panels. The closer you stand to them, the more opaque they seem. Yet it's easy see through if you're farther away, like the employees in the office behind these panels. A meeting alcove is enclosed by another Panelite product, a molded cast-polymer freestanding wall system, which Mitman sees as the future of offices.
"People come to us for a translucent solution to their problems," he says. The resolution gets clearer all the time.
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