Design philosopher Antonio Petrillo has produced a catalogue of transparencies.
The shiny, mirror-like, gem-like embellishment is the most characteristic expression of plastics. So much so that it has led to the development of specific technologies such as ‘gas assisted’ injection moulding.
When the surface becomes covered with ripples, which take the lustre away from the material, it is satinised. And it can become very dense, frozen, evoking salt mines. But the satininess can instead be accentuated, faceted, creating tactile surfaces in relief.
Some materials have a milky, opaline appearance, reminiscent of the pearly world of alabasters. Special effects are achieved by metallisation or the addition of special additives and pigments. This is a rapidly developing field thanks to nanotechnology, which drastically reduces the size and dosage of modifiers, thus reducing their opaque effects.

Transparency with a gradient is an iconic reference to an entire glacial landscape, made up of nuances that emphasise the very nature of transparency. It is achieved by acting on both thickness and colouring.
Other modifications of the inherent transparency of materials include inclusions (reminiscent of a natural phenomenon as unique as amber). Or matched transparency where a transparent layer, when superimposed on an opaque one, gives depth to the surface.
Matched transparency is linked to hypertextual, and therefore multilinear, processes and leads to novel combinations of materials, colours and styles.
Finally, designed transparency is neo-baroque. It unites many expressive planes: the nature of the material, the texture, the gradient of transparency, but above all the decorative and narrative level of signs and figures.
A galaxy of plastic transparencies on show at Mecspe 2023 on the Materioteca® stand.

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