Jali Zari – Colorful Acrylic Panels

5 February 2010 5,026 views 3 Comments

I assume you’re aquainted with acrylic already;  perhaps the two of you met while model-making in the wee hours of the night during architecture school, or maybe you’re wearing acrylic nails.  Could be you’re rocking an acrylic visor on your motorcycle helmet, or your exotic tropical fish collection swims in an acyrlic fish tank.  You love it because it’s lightweight, transparent, has good impact strength, doesn’t break into lethal shards, doesn’t yellow, lasts for 30 years, and never forgets to call.  But sometimes a person wants more than transparency.  Sometimes a person wants a highly reflective polymer panel that reflects the full color spectrum.  Sometimes a person just wants to be loved.

A few days ago I encountered Jali Zari.  Surprisingly, Jali Zari is not a bald martial arts expert with a penchant for tamarind cooler.  Jali Zari is the street name of a family of acrylic panels that made the lemon that is acrylic’s propensity to scratch into a zesty lemonade by making cuts within the panels that redirect light and shadow to form attractive patterns.  Standard panels are 8 x 4 ft by 3/4 in. thick clear acrylic with a backing film applied with a transparent adhesive (AEC world XP).  The film comes in a variety of transparent and “radiant” colors.  If you’re making room dividers, lighting, signage, wall coverings, furniture, or whatever else, you’ll be able to can cut, glue, and/or etch these panels, but don’t try to thermoform them because Jali Zari will come for you and I promise you do not want to mess with that guy.

Image courtesy AECworldXP.com

Five different versions are available but, due to the veil of mystery and enigma that surrounds Jali Zari, I can’t find any images of them.  Any help would be appreciated – please comment or contact me if you have an image I can use.

1.  Quadrato resembles a flattened honeycomb (check out my post on honeybee silk to see a honeycomb).  The pattern consists of “symmetrically stacked refractive acrylic squares with slight variations among rows.” (AEC world XP). 

2.  Triangolo is aligned in rows of light-reactive triangles redirect light and shadows in a consistent pattern (AEC world XP).

3.  Mille reflects light from every orientation because it contains many tiny slices and slashes arranged sporadically with varying lengths and depths.

4.  Cascata is also active from every viewing angle, it resembles a waterfall through randomly spaced light deflectors of varying sizes (AEC world XP).

5.  Cambia is a random composition of cuts and slashes “arranged sporadically to encourage light refraction” (AEC world XP).


All my polymers fit in the wood category because they share some characteristics with wood in terms of flexibility.  Jali Zari also fits in the fire category because of the dynamic quality of the light scattered by the cuts in the acrylic. 


“Connecting with Innovation.” AECworldXP.com accessed 02/04/10.  URL.

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    The acrylic panel is securely set within a heat finished copper frame and basin. Url Shortening Service

  • Marissa said:

    Check out sensitile.com for their different products. I love them!

  • Sensitile said:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    We noticed that you have published our product but there is no company name.

    Would you be able to add that so people can find the product.

    The company name is Sensitile and the product is Jali Cascata Zari Dusk.

    thank you,

    The Sensitile Team

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