Carnovsky's RGB Wallpaper

For the Milan Design Week, Italian studio Carnovsky created a series of wallpapers that react to different coloured lights. The designs were created for the Milan shop of Janelli & Volpi, a noted Italian wallpaper brand. Each features overlapping illustrations, different elements of which are revealed depending on whether a blue, green or red light is shone upon them.


Interactive Print & Touch Reactive Ink

Technology is not something always influencing our daily life in an intrusive way: it can be hidden, it can be a passive tool or an artificial entity that reacts autonomously to our needs.Thanks to this feature, technology can play a big role in creating both emotional and functional environments.

Shi Yuan is a chinese designer, interested in visual communication and typography. He developed the project “design with life” where the goal is making everyday objects - that are normally passive - more alive and active. This goal makes this project a good example to inspire sustainable interaction design projects.

Sample & Pattern Books

'Kelpie' wallpaper sample and photograph of room set 1976. From 'Studio One', a pattern book of vinyl wallpapers in the Vymura range, produced by ICI (Ltd) Paints Division Screen print.

Test Photography

Urban Design Inspriration - Village Green

Village Green


Album art for The Rapture constructed from cut paper, representative of the post-punk

and dance music scene. Village Green 2006.

Below Left

Becks Fusions in association with the ICA transformed

Trafalgar Square for an evening of music and art, incorporating

key characteristics of musical genres. Village Green 2007.

Below Right

Deadly Avenger Blossoms and Blood albums and single campaign. Village Green 2007.

Brief Development

The Observation

Urban Tribalism defines a generation where subculture has moved into a different existence, fixated around musical influence.

This new cultural arrangement is less formal and has similarities in common grounds rather than strict ones.

Those groupings which have traditionally been theorised as coherent subcultures are better understood as a series of temporal gatherings characterized by fluid boundaries and floating memberships.

Using Maffesoli's subcultural study theory of 'tribes' refers to contemporary urban dance music's musical and visual style as 'exemplifying the essential eclecticism of post-war youth culture'.

The Outcome

A tableaux of interactive prints that respond to the heat of touch to reveal extended narrative and play with the original narrative, illustrating the fluidity of Urban Tribalism in postsubcultural society, with contrast to the fixed subcultural theory of past years.


A sample book that presents each design beautifully in context with foreword and accompanying written narrative.

The Objectives

- Identify and assess how symbols are used in urban tribal culture to represent and communicate the contemporary existence of

youth identity.

- Create from extensive research of theory and field, visual narratives that accurately and beautifully define and represent our generation and speak about new tribalism in 2010 through a variety of mediums including illustration and photography.

- Communicate formed narratives that exhibit the nature and ideology of urban tribal culture in an evocative way, through interactive print, publication and installation.


Symbols of the 'Urban Tribe'

In tribal youth culture, constructing identites by appropriating objects - bricolage, is central to personal style as it was in the past. We take items and alter their meanings to represent who we are. In contemporary society this means clothing and music but also technology and digital representation.

Lumberjack Mod &

HipHop Chic


Rachel De Joode - Photographic Alternate Narrative

Dutch designer Rachel De Joode designs beautiful patterns and wallpaper designs which cast almost an optical illusion. Photographic imagery of women in different dresses making different movements, makes up the pattern up close, which from a distance, blends together to create an overall large scale exotic, beautiful pattern. The narrative is changed from one understanding to another - one story up close, and another from a distance.

Mark Mothersbough - Graphic textiles

Mark Mothersbough of 80's band Devo, designed in 08' a range of graphic rugs and wallpapers ranging from quirky to understated, using photographic elements and illustrative.

Pattern & Narrative

Pattern, from the French 'patron', is a type of theme of recurring events or objects, sometimes referred to as elements of a set. The most basic patterns are based on repetition and periodicity. Pattern in design terms can be used to depict stories and play out an order of narrative using imagery, or in simplified terms with symbols and semantic connections to understood social facts.

Grow House Grow! are an interior print designers that specialise in narrative wallpapers;

"Our mission is to enliven living space through the marriage of pattern, narrative
and a heavy dose of imagination"

Mary Ward (1827-1869) was encouraged to nurture her love of nature from a young age. Born into to a renowned scientific family in Co. Offaly, Ireland, she was educated at home with her sisters and by the age of three had developed a penchant for collecting bugs.


Youth Culture - Symbols of style

The modern sphere of youth culture has a reputation for being more materialistic than ever before and postmodern phenomenon such as digital technology and pop culture have become the catalyst for which markets are designed and obsessions are fed. With postmodern perspective coming into play with popular culture, lifestyle choices are more centered around mass consumption than ever. Clothes, speech, leisure, home etc, are regarded as indicators of the sense of style of the owner. Levi-Strauss (1966) identified that groups intentionally fabricate visual ensembles that distinguish them from their surrounding culture. The ways in which subcultural styles are constructed can be explained by the concept of ‘bricolage’.

Contemporary Fashion - Tribal pattern

Traditional Tribal Textiles

Tribal Kilim flat woven carpets or rugs produced from the Balkans to Pakistan. Kilims can be purely decorative or can function as prayer rugs.

Suzani tribal textile hand embroidered on linen or silk made by tribes of central asia and given as bridal gifts for bed coverings or wall hangings.

Maori symbolic pattern art.

Semiotics & the Traditional Tribe

Adinkra Symbols

Symbols are used to convey ideologies, concepts, aphorisms, beliefs or lifestyle. Created by the Akan people of Ghana, and the Gyaman of Cote d'Ivoire in West Africa the Adinkra symbols represent concepts or aphorisms. Adinkra are used on fabric, walls, in pottery, woodcarvings and logos. They also can be used to communicate evocative messages that represent parts of their life or those around them.

"spider's web"
symbol of wisdom, creativity and the complexities of life
Ananse, the spider, is a well-known character in African folktales.

symbol of endurance and resourcefulness
The fern is a hardy plant that can grow in difficult places. "An individual who wears this symbol suggests that he has endured many adversities and outlasted much difficulty."

Seth Godin presentation on Tribes


Contemporary Youth Culture - Neo Tribalism

Using Maffesoli's subcultural study theories of 'neo tribes' to identify where subculture has moved into a different existence, fixated around musical influence - Melechi (1993) refers to urban dance music’s musical and visual style - contemporary forms of DJ orientated music
such as house and techno, prog rock and hip hop - as ‘exemplifying the essential eclecticism of post-war youth culture’.

Relevant excerpt from dissertation

Bennett writes about neo-tribes as an alternate to subcultures, drawing from theories of Levi-Strauss and French sociologist Maffesoli, who coined the phrase ‘urban tribe’ and was the first to use the term ‘neo-tribalism’ in a scholarly context. (Maffesoli 1996)

Using Maffesoli's concept of tribus (tribes) and applying this to an empirical study of the contemporary dance music in Britain, I argue that the musical and stylistic sensibilities exhibited by the young people involved in the dance music scene are clear examples of a form of late modern ‘sociality’ rather than a fixed subcultural group. (Bennett 1999)