Posted on December 16, 2010



Carnovsky is a collective that was established in Milan in 2007. 

It is formed by Colombian Silvia Quintanilla and Italian Francesco Rugi. 
Silvia, industrial designer, and Francesco, art historian, met each other during their Masters in Design at Domus Academy in Milan in 2004.


A series of influences both personal and cultural help them to develop what they name “horizons fusion”, which, according to what they say, recognizes emerging as “not only identifiable as the simple sum of the two individualities but something different and original”.

They both stress the importance of working at the threshold between art and design, a quality that is considerably reflected throughout their work. They respectively have an artistic approach towards design, and a design approach towards their art.

One of their virtues is something that many either ignore or do not have the privilege to experience first hand – the spirit by which they both work“cheering up the body and making it whole”.

Their work is a complete experience which affects others emotions and thought.

Carnovsky is not very easy to define, its tendencies make the design as much graphic as industrial and make the visual art, included with its uses and effects of light coloring, difficult to be listed in an artcategory. It is for these reasons the collective believes that categorizing a work of art is a form of intellectual laziness and including the intertextuality or an interchange of various techniques and artistic abilities in a work, cannot debilitate it or make its product of a less important discipline.

Love ’60 is a design concept of a radiator in the shape of a piece of writing in analogy with neon signs.  The project develops a font (including all the letters in the alphabet) in which letters becomes modules to create customized radiators composing a sentence. The letter-modules are designed in a way in which any word or sentence may be composed. To create a continuous tube, the spaces between words are designed as dashes that have also the function of wall brackets. In the first and final letters a module that connects the radiator to the pipework is attached, this has a valve.
The radiator beyond being a functional and ornamental piece also becomes a communication element.

Among their works, the project RGB received a considerable interest fromthe press, exposing them internationally. The work has been shown during the 2010 Milan Design Week at Jannelli&Volpi store and also for Opium Den at Direktorenhaus, Johanssen Gallery, in Berlin.

RGB is a collection of wallpapers that mutate and interact with different chromatic stimulus. The project is addressed to interact, with different chromatic stimulation, the use of filters and red light besides the usage of three levels of filters one upon the other which results in unexpected and disorienting images.

The primary additive colors mix up, the lines and shapes entwine becoming oneiric and not completely clear. Through a filter (a colored light or transparent material) it is possible to see clearly the layers in which the image is composed. Each one of the red, green and blue filters serve to reveal just one of the three patterns, hiding the other two.

For the Milan Design Week 2010 Carnovsky has created a wallpaper installation representing the antique theme of the metamorphosis intended as an unceasing transformation of shapes from a “primigenial chaos”.
For this purpose they have created a sort of catalogue of natural motifs starting with the engravings from natural history’s great European texts, between the 500 and the 700, from Aldrovandi to Ruysch, from Linneus to Bonnaterre.

A catalogue that does not have a taxonomic or scientific aim in the modern sense, but that wants to classify both the real and the fantastic, the true and the verisimilar in the way medieval bestiaries did.

In each image three layers live together, three worlds that could belong to a specific natural kingdom, but that at the same time connect to a different psychological or emotional status that passes from the clear to the hidden, from the light to the darkness, from the awakeness to the dream.

Carnovsky’s exhibition at the Berlin Direktorenhaus is structured in three different scales, from the large to the small, from an architectonic scale, to an object one, passing through the prints.

The architectonic level one of the gallery’s rooms has been set up with a large installation made of wallpapers and colored lights: It is a sort of “fresco” made with contemporary technologies, “frescos”, but instead of being static, they are in mutable and fluctuating, capable of creating an ambient in continuous movement.

Besides the installation, there were presented some new limited edition RGB pieces, developed on the traditional playing card’s theme: a RGB playing cards deck and a series of lithographic prints of the “Horseman” subject. In each card there are printed three different playing cards: The overlapping of colors mixes up the forms in a way that it is difficult to recognize which figure is represented, an enigma that can be solved just through the use of one of the colored filters.

Q.  Why have you decided to become a collective instead of pursuing your own individualistic endeavours?
A.  Actually, for years we have been working on our owns and any of us was never expecting to work with somebody else. Finally, instead, we ended up working together and we feel very lucky because we could never done on our owns what we are doing now together. This  is what happened, it wasn’t a planned thing. Like for all designers and artists couples it normally happens in a form of an immeasurable alchemy.

Q.  Where do you find inspiration for your work?
A.  In various realistic and spiritual places.

Q.  Your projects differ very much from one to the next. In which artistic sector would you position yourselves?
A.  Our work always places itself in areas not easy to identify, in those grey areas among the various art and design disciplines. Our projects are difficult to be positioned in only one sector and in fact we believe our artistic strengths  lie in those grey areas.

Q.  Which of your projects do you feel has been best received and what do you think is the reason?
A.  Definitely RGB! We believe that the reason why it’s best received is because is a project holding  many interpretation levels. The most engaging thing is the filters which make the image on the wall changing because the feelings provoked deal with the recreational and even childish part of everyone. Moreover, this fabulous and dreamy imaginary made it quite recognizable. These images are hardly positionable in the history: on one hand they can be ancient and on the other quite contemporary, pop we would say. At the end, when talking about installations in interior, RGB is not only working on the intellectual design but it creates an emotional tie which in our opinion is what sticks in people’s memory.

Q.  Are you currently working on other projects? Can we ask… “What next!?”
A.  Yes, of course we are working at different things. From one side we are continuing our work on RGB because there are many other things we want to add at the project and on the other side we have been working at many parallel projects. Obviously, we can’t tell you much about that now but soon we will showcase things that we believe will be very much of interest.

Q.  How is the Italian scene for this kind of art?
A.  We must say that, speaking of design, Italy is still holding a powerful position on a brand level of firms. Speaking about young arts designers, instead, it can’t compete with other established realities like the English and Dutch ones. For certain aspects in Italy seems to be difficult to emerge if you are a young artist or designer. But this is a long story too boring to be explained here,  anyway for us Italy, and Milan in particular, is still a good place where to stay although  we are international open-minded.

Q.  In your exhibition list you have quite a few expositions abroad, how do you make this happen?
A.  Things happen or at least, one tries to make them happen. Before Carnovsky, we were both pro-active on our owns so at a certain point is normal to have a substantial portfolio of works and exhibitions.

Q.  What are your projects for 2011 and how do you think Pelime might help facilitate them?
A.  As we said before, we are currently working at various projects, but you know how is with projects: you never know because things mutate continuously and is difficult to understand where they will lead you. Some works have their own autonomous strength. Some others instead, despite someone have spent a lot of his energy and time on it, simply die and hardly emerge from the indistinct chaos of chances to take a real shape. After all, is the same thing with life. Referring to Pelime, we believe is a very interesting platform for networking in all creativity sectors.


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