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An aquarium for Berlin’s Radisson Blu Hotel towers six stories and features an elevator that runs through the center of the tank. Photo by Christian Gahl / Courtesy of Reynolds Polymer Technology

The Grand Junction Company Building the World’s Most Beautiful Aquariums

Reynolds Polymer Technology turns acrylic into art fit for everything from Apple to zoos.

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People who live in glass houses wouldn’t have to worry about stones if they’d built their homes with acrylic, a translucent, shatterproof plastic. Especially if Reynolds Polymer Technology made that acrylic. Since 1987, the Grand Junction company has completed more than 1,900 projects in 57 countries, many of them—including immersive exhibits opening this month at Toledo Zoo & Aquarium—high-concept designs for barriers between humans and animals. For example, an aquarium for Berlin’s Radisson Blu Hotel (pictured) towers six stories and features an elevator that runs through the center of the tank. Reynolds’ engineers can also fashion acrylic strong enough to stop a 1,000-pound polar bear sprinting at 30 mph. But the firm’s wizardry goes beyond wildlife. When Apple needed acrylic pendants to front its stores, Steve Jobs’ minions called Reynolds. As did researchers at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Canada when they required a 13-foot, 74,000-pound sphere to study subatomic particles, work that garnered the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics. Unfortunately for homeowners, Reynolds doesn’t build houses—though that will soon change. It recently patented fire-retardant acrylic, a technology that allows for the construction of entire walls made of the company’s favorite material. In other words, it’ll soon be safe for everybody to sling stones.

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