Vitrealspecchi was set up in 1939 in Brianza, northern Italy, as a transformer of mirrors for the furniture and interior design industry. In 1965, Vitrealspecchi started developing acid etching for the decoration of glass, a technique hitherto surviving in only small artisan businesses, on an industrial scale. This was the beginning of Madras®, whose crinkly effect, caused by the acid etching, evokes a particular type of Indian silk and its lustre. The result was revolutionary: compared to rolled glass (patterned by rollers during the casting process), Madras® is free from defects, comes in large plates with perfectly flat surfaces and, very importantly, can be tempered. Further, in addition to producing decorative glass, this etching process made it possible to obtain frosted glass of far higher quality than traditional sanded glass. Finding a vast range of applications in the building industry and interior design, the new “satinized” glass immediately became Vitrealspecchi’s flagship product.
Thanks to the cost/quality advantages delivered by an industrial approach that scrutinizes every aspect of production (from raw material selection to innovation and environmental responsibility), the Madras® range earned Vitrealspecchi increasing prestige amongst corporate, designer and also private clients. As shown by the extraordinary success of an advertising campaign addressing the public that featured an all glass door made of Madras®. Not surprisingly, the biggest field of application of this extraordinary etched glass has always been doors, classic and modern, partition walls and glazing in general.
Madras® is a by-word not only for decorative glass but also for powerful and constant technological and creative development, and it now offers new functional products: Madras® Flooring, a range of anti-slip glass certified to the main international standards, and Ecosat No-Scratch, which is scratch-proof and has superior resistance to even the most stubborn stains.
Today, over 70 years from its foundation and in an increasingly specialized and global market, Vitrealspecchi continues to stand for excellence in glass etching. Globetrotters in fact, wherever they are, may find themselves walking up a Madras® stairway or looking up at a Madras® façade, or sitting in a room where the walls, doors and furnishing are all made of Madras®, the Technological/Creative glass for Architecture and Design.
Levelling glass for mirror production at the Niguarda glassworks (Milan), 1930s.
Giò Ponti at the presentation of the Madras® line in Milan,
with Luigi Bresciani, 1968.
Close-up of Vitrealspecchi stand at Glasstec 2010, Düsseldorf Fairgrounds, Germany.