RGB by Carnovsky

carnovsky-rgb-murals-milan-design-week-2013-1“RGB is a work about the exploration of the surface’s depth.”

I was happily Stumbling about design this week when I came across this work by Italian artist/designer duo Carnovsky. At first I thought this was just very colorful wallpaper with finely detailed line drawings. Upon closer inspection I realized the images are printed in CMY (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow) and when lit up with filtered light (RGB – Red, Green, Blue) these superimposed images become isolated.

Why is that interesting?

Visually, there’s a hide-and-seek effect because the filters will isolate certain images while making others disappear entirely. So depending on the light, you’ll notice completely different things. AND, for nerdy designers like myself, who love depth and reason in beautiful things, the artist is exploring the subtractive and additive color models.

What the heck are those?

In the additive color model visible colors are created by mixing just Red, Green and Blue lights (examples: computer monitors and televisions). In the subtractive color model, colors are created with Cyan, Magenta and Yellow by subtracting (or absorbing) some wavelengths of light while reflecting others (example: printed media)…

I KNOW – I probably lost all of you  – MY POINT IS the duo really thought about what they were doing and this is essentially a beautiful science experiment. I love that. And just to be clear, they do sell RGB wallpaper, prints, scarfs, ipad cases, and iphone cases on their website.

This is what Carnovsky knew: cyan ink absorbs red light (which is a long wavelength) but transmits green and blue, the magenta ink absorbs green light(medium wavelength) but transmits red and blue, and the yellow ink absorbs blue light (short wavelength) but transmits red and green. Keep this in mind when you look at the images…


  1. This is so very cool!


    1. rlbastos

      Thanks for commenting! I know, right? I think it’s pretty brilliant!


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