Invisible. Scentless. Going through walls and into us, animals and plants and affecting all life on a cellular level. We are bombarded by it from the cosmos, the earth itself and activities in everyday life, but radiation, sometimes caricatured in science-fiction and popular entertainment, has very real ramifications to our biology and ecology. This has been brought to the fore of the world’s attention through the atomic bombing that ended World War II, nuclear disasters in Chernobyl and Fukushima in very recent history. The fear of nuclear energy is matched by only our awe and growing dependence on it. Lanzavecchia + Wai, deeply fascinated by historical entomological illustrations and triggered by the effects of radiation on living beings, designed the MUTAZIONI carpets for high design rug company NODUS. The carpets present the top-down view of two fictitious insects Amaurodes Chernobilis and Tacua Fukushimae, resembling a mounted insect specimen.
Their names allude to the new species of a beetle and cicada hypothesized by Lanzavecchia + Wai, caused directly by the two nuclear disasters that have occurred in their lifetime. The pattern in the background of the hand-tufted pieces, developed by Olivia Lee, follows the precision of the Golden Ratio, serves to highlight the asymmetrical imperfection of the mutated insects in a game of “Spot the Difference” engaged with their viewer.
Nature, being the system of perfect design which evolution has bestowed upon us, is distorted and irrevocably changed by humankind’s hand after millions of years – the effects of which create unknown ripples into the future, showing us how fragile life is. This is the poignant message the designers hope to convey through this exquisite exemplar of human craftsmanship, a bittersweet vision while the viewer is entranced by its strange beauty.
The term ”Land of Fires“ refers to a large area located in southern Italy, between the provinces of Naples and Caserta, characterized by the strong presence of toxic, radioactive waste as well as the numerous bonfires of waste, from which the moniker is infamously derived from. In many cases, the piles of waste illegally dumped in the countryside or by the roadside are set on fire, their resulting smoke spreading into the atmosphere and surrounding lands. Toxic substances such as dioxin, are responsible for a high rate of tumours developing in the breast and thyroid of young women as well as children. And what about the animals that live in those places? Butterflies, dragonflies, lizards, salamanders: how do they react to these environmental changes that accumulate gradually and inexorably? In this context, it is reasonable to think that some somatic and DNA modifications will take place. And it is from the Land of Fires, which we assumed to have been originated from, creatures that inhabit our carpets Mutations 02: a salamander (Salamandra Ardentis Agri) and a dragonfly (Trithemis Ardentis Agri). At first glance, they appear to be normal animals, but the perfect grid on which rest leads our eye to dwell on small defects not immediately perceptible.
These imperfections and mutations intrigue us and generate attraction and repulsion at the same time. Beauty has been a means to tell a very sad story, of which one has difficulty speaking; a story of our time, of our troubled land. We aim to make visible what is invisible by nature, as the evil that man, by nature, is also bringing upon himself. The message we want to communicate through an exquisite example of craftsmanship is a bittersweet tale that emphasizes the fragility, beauty and imperfection of life inviting the observer with a new, refined edition of the game “spot the differences.”
“Golden Ratio” Carpet grid pattern by Olivia Lee www.olivia-lee.com