The work of multi-talented design duo Giovannella Formica and Beppe Caturegli, more commonly known as the entity Formica Caturegli, range from ultra-contemporary architecture and interiors to functional product design and video installations. As former collaborators with Ettore Sottsass, they are well known in the art and design worlds – particularly in their home of Italy – for their intelligent social commentary through aesthetics. What is lesser known is that since the 1980s they have produced several series of carpets that they describe as “maps of knowledge” and which have become sought after items on the art market.

Hubs/Flying Carpets is an exhibition of these carpets at influential Milan design gallery, Nilufar. While every carpet is a unique piece, each belongs to a series of “maps”: DNA codes, African villages, the tulip farms of Holland and the litmus test. Using colour and hand weaving, Formica Caturegli are exploring their interest in the disruptive impact that humans can have on destiny and the environment. These carpets are therefore artworks. As Andrea Branzi, the master artist-designer who is a friend of Formica Caturegli, writes in the preface to the Nilufar show: “Their carpets are no longer carpets, because they are not just carpets but reflections on the permanence of decorative diagrams within the logic of nature, science and technology.”



Andrea Branzi, the master artist-designer who is a friend of Formica Caturegli, wrote the introduction to the catalgue of the Nilufar show:

Carpets as Deep Information
By Andrea Branzi

Carpets are very common items. But it has never really been clear if their decorations, so confidently woven and intertwined, have a religious, symbolic or simply practical origin.

Anthropology does not fully clarify the matter, and historians simply focus on classifying colors, techniques, ethnic signs. Personally, though, I have always had the impression that carpets, apart from their geographical source, have a much more complex origin, not connected with their religious or secular use, but instead with
the representation of cosmic vibrations or information. I sense that the carpet (like a big ear) can directly record from the ground on which it is spread.

The mysterious intertwinings of carpets seem, in fact, to record forms of mystical thought that spring spontaneously from the infinite, ritualized but always varied repetition of their weave. A sort of cognitive, reiterative, exploratory structure that is born in the dark mazes of a collective mind, that reflects on the expansion of the cosmos. Something like the visions of a blind man, who describes a universe he has never seen.

Like the visible circles on water, the carpet records invisible circles and forms, following logical theorems that cannot be deciphered, conceived by some theoretical physicist who investigates unexplored levels of the world and knowledge.

I think Caturegli and Formica approach this mysteric-scientific dimension of carpets, interpreting them as deep genetic diagrams or the memory of faraway superficial tracks (villages, or tires). Somehow, in fact, their carpets are no longer carpets, because they are not just carpets but reflections on the permanence of decorative
diagrams within the logic of nature, science and technology.

Carpets, then, as sensitive surfaces that record some kind of inexplicable harmonies, reproducing them not as decorations but as sacred patterns, as deep information that only the textile surface, in contact with the ground, is able to transmit.