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Carnovsky's designs for Missoni use the mysterious beauty of jellyfish to create colorful patterns at the intersection between chaos and order

Milan-based design duo Carnovsky’s production spans art, design and decoration. Composed of Francesco Rugi and Silvia Quintanilla, they have collaborated with a wide variety of galleries, museums and institutions, such as the Helsinki Design Museum, the Drake Hotel in Toronto and Jaguarshoes in London.

Carnovsky create mind-bending patterns that unite a vintage Encyclopaedic feel with zoology, gastronomy, art and design, by clashing antique vibes with a very contemporary, vibrant color-palette and the use of technologically advanced techniques: a fantastic, awe-inspiring style that is perfect for stunning installations, wallpapers, and decorations. But Carnovsky’s work is also perfect for fabrics: which is why Missoni commissioned them to create a pattern for a series of shirts and a windjacket in their Men’s collection for this Fall.

As for the subject of the prints? Carnovsky decided to work with a pattern created by interlocking Jellyfish, the world’s oldest multi-organ animal, which have inhabited our oceans for up to 700 million years, and inspired artists and visionaries for at least a few thousand. In Carnovsky’s capable hands, these mysterious, colorful (and dangerous) animals become an all-over pattern that is as much inspired by the history and tradition of the iconic Missoni house style as it is by the work of German biologist Ernst Haeckel, who popularized jellyfish in his classic book of lithographic and autotype prints published between 1899 and 1904, Kunstformen der Natur (German for Art Forms of Nature). The Kunstformen series, which was published finally in two extremely influential volumes in 1905, was concerned with divulging the appearance of various natural organisms that were, more often than not, first described by Haeckel himself.

But the over-riding themes of his book were above and beyond the simple description of zoology: in Haeckel’s work there emerges the idea of order out of chaos in nature, and the implied connection between nature, science and art. His prints presented organisms with the maximum possible sense of symmetry, organization and pattern-structure, while maintaining an awareness of the underlying chaotic variations that nature supplies us with. Much like Missoni’s iconic patterns, Carnovsky’s jellyfish also exist at the intersection between the man-made and the natural, the chaotic and the orderly, the mysterious and the known.


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