Manufacturing Awards 2011: Customer Service: Architectural Plastics: When King Tut needs a display
[caption id="attachment_36657" align="alignleft" width="360" caption="Architectural Plastics President Pierre Miremont in the company's showroom next to a medical workstation custom made for Cisco Systems."][/caption]
PETALUMA -- "There's a great future in plastics" was the advice given to Dustin Hoffman's character Benjamin Braddock in the 1967 film The Graduate.
Address: 1299 North McDowell Blvd. Petaluma, CA 94954
About the same time, Pierre Miremont, a philosophy and math major in college, was taking this calling to heart when he founded Architectural Plastics, Inc., in San Francisco. He relocated the firm to 1299 North McDowell Blvd. in Petaluma in 1987.
"Plastics have always been in my blood. I remember reading the DC Comic book Plasticman as a kid. I took a personal interest in plastics while working in my sister's furniture store in the old San Francisco Ice House. One of our suppliers made plastic furniture and I went to work for him," said Mr. Miremont, "and the rest -- as they say -- is history."
Architectural Plastics takes pride in its ability to work closely with customers in the design, fabrication, and production of one-of-kind creations or thousands of units.
"While many of our clients have an idea of what they want, often they don't know how to make it, or about the special characteristics inherent in plastic materials today. We help them take a concept from a rough sketch to completion. With our diverse background and experience, we are able to solve problems that seem insurmountable to others, and are often asked to design parts that most fabricators cannot."
Using acrylics, ABS, PVC, LUMAsite, polycarbonates and styrene, along with non-reflective plastics and UV filtering materials, the company develops unique and attractive displays, signs and furnishings for a variety of industries.
In addition to banks, computer firms and museums, optical companies (3M Optical and Younger Optics), medical (Medtronic) and equipment manufacturers (Hewlett-Packard and Panamax) also use its products.
Wineries are also on the list (Bartholomew Park Winery, Kenwood, Beaulieu and Beringer), as are hotels (Four Seasons, Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt) and retailers, such as Nordstrom, Macys and Wal-Mart.
The client list spans the alphabet from Asian Art Museum exhibit cases to transparent donation boxes at the San Francisco Zoo and international customers (an exhibit case built for Bug World in Liverpool, UK). The firm also produced the display cases for the traveling King Tut exhibit.
"We have a global reputation for turning projects around in record time. When developers of Liz Taylor's White Diamond fragrances came to us for an eight-foot high plastic diamond to use as a backdrop during her personal appearances, we put that together in one week."
Architectural Plastics also created a medical diagnostic workstation for Cisco Systems that will enable a skilled attendant to help examine and treat patients at kiosks in retail settings with direct links to physicians via the network on a flat panel screen.
The firm has 20 seasoned professionals who work in a 16,000 square foot manufacturing facility complete with advanced CNC computer controlled routers and other precision equipment capable of close tolerances and consistency.
"As a licensed general contractor, we can also coordinate construction projects and installations," Mr. Miremont said.
While a majority of Architectural Plastics products are custom creations, the firm produces and stocks a line of standard products, such as hotel room service food trays, to meet recurring needs.
"We are the only distributor of plastic products in the North Bay serving a variety of sign makers, picture framers, lighting manufacturers and others who use plastics in their own products," Mr. Miremont said.
The company's trucks also deliver to the South Bay several times a week.
"The secret of our success is learning everything we can about our customer's businesses, and their customers as well, so we can design products that appeal to our clients and their markets."