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Seeing through Plexiglas: Angelo Mangiarotti

Seeing through Plexiglas: Angelo Mangiarotti

Seeing through Plexiglas: Angelo Mangiarotti

The exhibition which could see through Balancing trasparencies has just closed, at the Galleria Scacchi Giovanni in Milan. Its aim? To unveil well-known and unheard-of works by Angelo Mangiarotti in a whole new guise: polymethyl methacrylate. Plexiglas, for short.

If design is in plastics: the Galleria

It all began in 1933 in Germany, when the chemist Otto Röhm turned up at the Intellectual Property Office to patent the name Plexiglas. The name itself reveals the properties of this material: plexus is the Latin word for "interwoven", a word Röhm chose because of its polymer structure; Glas, as you may have guessed, means "glass" in German.

Plexiglas is, indeed, both as resistant as plastic and even more transparent than glass: with respect to the latter, it can enjoy the additional advantage of various degrees of unbreakableness. These features make up the reason why Enrico Scacchi, in the Seventies, imported it into Italy and began using it in the industrial branch. His son, Giovanni kept on building up this business, while widening his knowledge on the properties of this material. In this way, he managed to extend its use from the technical field to the aesthetical one, "so that experimenting, designing and realizing intertwine and give birth to 'new metacrylic transparencies'".

This is how Metea opened in 2003: this company produces methacrylate objects and has recently joined designers and contemporary artists in the creation of resistant, transparent and versatile products, which are therefore both modern and classic. These are the foundations which the Galleria Scacchi Giovanni was built on, where these creations are exhibited and sold and where, on February, 6th, the exhibition Plexiglas: Balancing transparencies opened.

The idea behind the exhibition

When collaborating with Trust - Angelo Mangiarotti Foundation and with professor Anna Mangiarotti, an idea has been put forward: bringing 10 works by Angelo Mangiarotti to a new light, the one that passes through plexigas and that can give a thoroughly new aspect to his creations.

As Francois Burkhardt once wrote, Mangiarotti distinguished himself as being able to draw a product's design taking into account its function, first of all, and, of course, the material it would be made of.

The process of changing the type of material from the original solid one to transparent acrylic was thus carried out faithfully following Mangiarotti's own drawings. The balance between design and material hasn't been flawed at all, since different reflections and lighting effects have rather been created. This is, then, an exhibition which lets new lights seep through the transparencies of plexiglas.