Market segment: Architectural
Location: New York, New York
Product: ACRYLITE®

Description of the application: Art & Sculpture
Fabricator: Tom Fruin


Durability, ease-of-use, array of colors inspire artist Brooklyn-based artist Tom Fruin, internationally recognized for creatively turning recycled material into art, used Evonik’s ACRYLITE® to transform a traditional New York City water tower by replacing the mundane wooden panels with colorful acrylic sheets that are illuminated at night. The modern patchwork exploration of color and light, named WATERTOWER 3: RV Ingersoll, has debuted atop Brooklyn Bridge Park headquarters and is named for a nearby city public housing complex.

“Tom has done a remarkable job of demonstrating ACRYLITE®’s weatherability, light transmission and optical clarity,” said Laura Torsiello, communications manager for Evonik Acrylic Polymers North America. “We’ve seen ACRYLITE® used in many creative ways in the past, but his work stands apart. Since his art uses off-spec material, we also saw it as an opportunity to recycle our material in a unique way.” Fruin’s latest reinterpretation of the New York City rooftop water tank, which is part of his internationally-celebrated sculptural series created from repurposed materials, features more than 1,000 pieces of ACRYLITE® acrylic sheet. The acrylic is attached to the composition’s steel rame and is the first of his installations to be constructed solely of ACRYLITE®.

“The diverse collection of ACRYLITE® gives me the freedom to explore really interesting and diverse combinations of color, texture and shape,” Fruin said. “It’s also incredibly easy to work with. I cut individual pieces with a CNC router and then sandwiched the ACRYLITE® between two pieces of steel. The ACRYLITE® and steel work well together forming a super robust system. My first WATERTOWER survived Superstorm Sandy without any damage.”

Fruin’s previous installations have drawn notable attention, particularly for their spectacular interplay of light and color. “Obviously, there’s a lot of light inside the piece during the day but at night, I’ve programmed a light show to attract and reward viewers. The longer you stay and watch it, the more the colors change and the tower illuminates. It’s a special moment to see people admire it,” Fruin said.

Fruin has enlisted the services of New York City-based Lumi•Solair to create an off-the-grid renewable energy source for nighttime interior lighting. Solar batteries absorb energy during the day and expel it at night, powering six floor fixtures and one pendant driven by a programmable board running a synchronized script of cues.

“We work extensively to describe the many benefits of ACRYLITE®,” Torsiello said. “However, when you see Tom’s brilliant thinking come to life like this, the biggest benefit of ACRYLITE® is the amazing creativity it unleashes.”