Panelite Workstation 2.0, 2003


Location: New York, New York | Los Angeles, California
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Panelite’s composite panels are not only attractive, but their exceptional strength and structural integrity make them perfect for a wide range of architecture and design applications. Made using a sandwich construction method typically found in the aerospace industry, each panel consists of a cellular honeycomb core, faced on both sides with either prefabricated or cast polyester resin sheets reinforced with fiberglass.

Panelite was originally founded in 1998 by two young architects, Emmanuelle Bourlier and Christian Mitman, who developed this innovative material as a solution to a design problem. Deeply committed to material research and development, Panelite has tapped the potential of its initial concept to develop a full array of ingenious variations on the first generation of panels. Honeycomb cores made of different materials— PET, polycarbonate, or aluminum—and different cellular configurations provide a range of surface patterns, textures, and visual effects that modulate both light and vision. Recently, the company developed Panelite Insulated Glass Unit (IGU) panels, which are strong and weather-resistant enough to be used for exterior applications. The Laminated and Cast Polymer series are interiorgrade composite panels, and the Cast Polymer panels can be custom-tinted to match any paint chip or color specification, and have been used by many architects to create colorful and translucent interior walls and surfaces.

Rem Koolhaas’s OMA used Panelite products throughout the interior and exterior of the McCormick Tribune Center at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. OMA also collaborated with Panelite to develop furniture for the building, including the Workstation, a sleekly minimal table made entirely of Cast Polymer Panelite, and which makes use of new technology developed by the company to curve the panels, expanding the material’s potential even more. In keeping with its core purpose of transforming the possibilities of building through ongoing innovation, Panelite developed an interlocking system called ITL which takes full advantage of the structural strength of the honeycomb core of the panels to eliminate the need for any additional support. ITL, like Panelite’s other products, is highly customizable and allows design freedom and efficiency all at once.