INTERNA_MENTE by Materica in Milano, Italy

23 May 2023

Wire-metallization marvel: Materica's immersive triumph 'INTERNA_MENTE' fascinates Milano Design Week visitors at Alcova spaces

Photo credit: courtesy Materica

Matter transforms, giving life to a chamber of mirrors. This installation encourages reflection, self-reflection, and listening. A place outside of space and time, inhabited by an image that comes from afar to communicate with our inner selves.

Materica, which specializes in the wire metallization of the most diverse surfaces, participated in Milano Design Week for the first time with its installation: INTERNA_MENTE.

Photo credit: courtesy Materica

In this immersive experience, the Italian company explored its alchemical ability to transform materials in surprising and beautiful ways.

In an always-open process of experimentation, Materica extracts new expressive capabilities from almost every type of material, including wood, marble, stone, steel, and textiles. An electric arc gun melts wires of pure metal, from brass to bronze, zinc to copper, micronizing them and projecting them at high speed as tiny particles onto the surface to be coated. The metal particles immediately adhere to a pre-treated surface and quickly cool, thus preserving the material and coating even its finest details. It is an extremely versatile process that ennobles even the simplest and seemingly poorest materials, following geometries and enhancing textures or, in other cases, smoothing and homogenizing even the roughest, uneven surfaces. The metal can then be further treated - oxidized, coloured, silvered, antiqued, or polished - for various characters and sensory effects.

“We transform material to create a feeling. Only then do we get the sense that we have reached our goal? On the boundaries between art and craftsmanship, design and technique, we find that alchemy, based on secret recipes that we fine-tune depending on the materials and the aesthetic challenges at hand. That may involve giving a metallic appearance to compostable polystyrene, encapsulating a rich velvet, or gilding a “plain” material like OSB,” says Maurizio Orfino, CEO of Materica.

In Alcova’s spaces, a former cold storage room became a striking chamber of mirrors. The interior, fully lined in recycled MDF sheets metallized to a mirror-like effect and treated with ever-changing oxidation and colouration processes, created a kaleidoscope of endless refractions. The interplay of reflections was enriched by numerous colour effects, embracing and surrounding visitors by infinitely expanding and dilating the dimensions of the environment.

In an instant, visitors were transported away from the rest of the world. They entered a suspended, intimate, and hidden dimension, and immediately encountered a mysterious figure that revealed other aspects of Materica’s transformative abilities - a shape that seemed to come from an indefinite horizon, modelled in compostable polystyrene, fully metallized, and reflective like the rest of the installation. The metal wire followed its sinuosity and highlighted its sculptural plasticity.

“We wanted to create a place outside of space and time, where you can find yourself welcomed and heard. A temple where we can take a moment to feel like “ourselves,” outside of the pressures of society, the superficial, appearances, and absences,” say Tiziano Guardini and Luigi Ciuffreda, creative directors of Materica’s installation 

“The mirrored surfaces that reflect us make us the central characters of our being, here in the present. Face to face with a figure that, in turn, acts as our mirror. The interior becomes the exterior because that image is the materialization of our intimate dialogue with ourselves.”

Through transformed matter, cloaked in a new metallic guise and a new identity full of magic and beauty, Materica invited visitors to travel outside of time.