Perspex® acrylic is currently protecting exhibits that form part of “House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion”, the largest showcase of its kind ever to be presented at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, England.

Head of creative direction, Patrick Kinmonth, developed designs for the event from his initial ‘lightbulb moment’, which came to him in the bath! He explained at the launch event: “I saw the bubbles and the way they joined together to create a straight line. You can see they do a fascinating thing; I envisaged how beautiful it could be if expanded upwards. The Perspex® acrylic display cases offer a solution for how these clothes and mannequins could be staged without isolating the items – curves are the solution”.


The result was the most challenging display case designs our technical experts have ever seen. The Perspex® acrylic stands up to three meters tall and is thermoformed into smooth curves, creating a number of oversized test-tube cylinders pieced together. The designs are varied; some are joined up with more cylinders of different diameters, while others enclose tightly around the exhibit itself.

“Other materials were initially investigated for the display case designs”, explained Mauricio Elorriaga, Design Director at Patrick Kinmonth studio. “Glass in the first instance, however, it is over twice as heavy as Perspex® acrylic, which would have limited the exhibition layout possibilities, knowing that the floor loading capacity is a concern on a listed building. Glass also presents more obstacles in regards to cost effectiveness of the material itself, fabrication and handling fees. An alternative material considered was polycarbonate, but the optical clarity and overall aesthetics did not fit the design specification.”




The cases’ fabricator, Factory Settings, has vast experience when it comes to acrylic and glass display units but they had never before attempted designs of this complexity. The biggest challenge was achieving an even curvature using full size sheets. However, the thickness tolerance and thermoformability of Perspex® acrylic, mixed with the company’s expertise, resulted in achieving maximum height and tight frame fit. This formed the dramatic look that has been well received by visitors and the media.

Representatives at Chatsworth commented: “House Style is such a different exhibition, more ambitious than anything we have done previously… advance online ticket sales are higher than for any other exhibition we have held, and our opening weekend was one of the busiest Chatsworth has ever had.”

The team has great expectations for the rest of the year. The House Style exhibition is included in the house ticket purchase until 22nd October 2017. Tickets can be purchased on the Chatsworth website.


Images courtesy of Patrick Kinmonth.