Designer Chooses Vinyl for Innovative Products

Designer Pierre Miremont, owner of Petaluma, Calif.-based Architectural Plastics, chooses PVC to solve problems ranging from broken Ethernet cards to unwelcome cat “spray.”

One of his clients, Wells Fargo Bank, found that when employees moved their laptop computers, the pulling motion would often break the Ethernet cards. Architectural Plastics designed a “card protector” PVC base for the computers, carving an S-shape into the base to press the cord into. Whenever the computer is moved, Miremont explained, the stress will not be on the coupling with the Ethernet card but rather on the considerably stronger cord.

Another product took shape when Miremont read an article about a local woman who was building and painting plywood tabletop sandboxes called sand trays. Therapists use sand trays in treating children and adults, asking them to arrange toy people, animals and other figures on the tray, thus creating their own world as a way to non-verbally express emotions and conflicts. Miremont contacted the woman and suggested that PVC would be a better material.

It is not only lightweight but also leakproof, a useful quality because patients have the option of adding water to the sand. Further, the PVC sand tray could be manufactured with the standard blue interior surface (no need to paint), and it would also have naturally smooth, rounded edges, which are safer for children. In addition, he said, PVC is easy to clean.

Once his company began making PVC sand trays, word spread among therapists. They asked for a lid, then for legs, so it could double as a table in small offices. All these he added in sturdy, lightweight PVC.

Most of Architectural Plastics’ designs are geared to displaying client products to best advantage. For Dupont Corian and Zodiak products, they designed a variety of sample display cases in vinyl. “Our customers prefer them because they are less expensive and lighter weight than metal but still long lasting,” Miremont said.  For another client, the company designed a display using black vinyl and backlighting to showcase transparent soaps.

Sometimes the company’s PVC creations are not meant to fade into the background but rather to attract attention. For the entrance to a jewelry store, they designed a freestanding six-foot laminated PVC ring holding an acrylic “diamond.”

In at least one case, necessity was the mother of invention. At home, the Miremont’s cat would spray over the walls of its box and onto the floor. When his wife asked for a solution, Miremont designed a high-walled box in non-porous, easy-to-clean vinyl. These and more vinyl designs are on view at .