Plastic fantastic: creating the world’s most famous acetate

It’s 1849. It’s a time of revolution, from the industrial kind to the more bloody type. And with revolution, comes evolution. And innovation.

This is the year the Mazzucchelli family found a company that is all about innovating with new materials. They started playing with naturals, then celluloid—the first ‘thermoplastic’—before moving on to cellulose acetate. Or more specifically world-leading, game-changing, fantastic plastic.

Mazzucchelli acetate sheet prepared to be cut into individual frames

It’s 2014 (remember, we’re going back in time) and KITE is starting up. We’re looking for the innovators and glasses devotees. We met our match in a small town in Northern Italy.

So how do they make their plastic fantastic? Here’s the recipe (sort of): make paste of flaked cotton flowers, press repeatedly, pass through warm rollers, add organic colour powders, keep hot-rolling, cut into cubes and roll further for more intense colour. Allow to cool for several weeks.

This solid sheet of gorgeous stuff can now be worked by hand or machine. It can be textured, cut and layered. Its feel is warm and silky-soft.

There’s no recipe for the fine art of pattern and colour. And quality comes with expertise. The artisans at Mazzucchelli 1849 have been working on the possibilities for well over 150 years.

Pure jewel colours and one-of-a-kind patterns. Milky creams. Neon. Horn. Brick. Rainbows. Dappled waters. Swirling stone. Shot taffeta. Pixellation. Fire. Moiré. Icing. Psychedelic wallpaper. Tangled ribbons. Agate. Jade. Amber. Tortoiseshell. Glazed porcelain. The sky at sunset.

KITE Eyewear Acetate Prototypes KITE Eyewear Acetate Prototypes
Mazzucchelli acetate sheets Mazzucchelli acetate sheets

The possibilities, as they say, are endless. No, they’re end-tips! And lens bars. And frames. KITE glasses and sunglasses frames. Fantastic.