See the beauty

The combination of colour and transparency in plastics materials is used to create objects with great aesthetic appeal. Light passing through the material creates pools of colour, an effect which can be exploited in the production of large decorative pieces or more delicate items of jewellery for example.

The Shadow Ruff (1) by designer and maker Sue Gregor, allows light to pass through it, forming subtle changing coloured shadows on the skin of the wearer.  The fine detail captured on the surface of each component piece is created using pressed passionflower leaves, which results in a material the designer describes as fossilized plastic.  The appearance of the necklace changes depending on the viewpoint of the person looking at it.  Looking along the clear edges of the facets only the coloured shadows are visible which change as the wearer moves.  Viewed from other angles the detail of the design can be clearly seen.


Italian company Kartell are renowned for their pieces which are both practical and beautiful.  The large Moon bowl (2), designed by Mario Bellini, has the appearance of lunar caps. This statement piece is made from transparent batch dyed polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA or acrylic).  Its transparency enables the textures to be enjoyed through the smooth inner surface of the bowl and light passing through it creates pools of colour beneath.


The oversized Jelly plate (3), also by Kartell, is designed by Patricia Urquiola.  It is part of a range which exploits the combination of a tactile textured surface and transparency, which enhances the core that looks like jelly, belying the strength and the solidity of the acrylic from which it is made.