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Holland in Holon

2012 marks the start of something special for the Design Museum in Holon as it hosts the first big-scale Holon design week.

By Cassandra Pizzey / 13-04-2012

After a successful yet modest first edition in 2011, the team of the Design Museum Holon – led by museum director Alon Sapan and chief curator Galit Gaon – had a vision to create a week dedicated to Israeli design and international relationships.

Over fifteen design-week directors from around the world (including Tokyo, Berlin, Beijing and Eindhoven) were invited to engage with Israeli designers, present their design week visions and visit exhibitions. Over the course of three days, the international directors were exposed to presentations by young Israeli creatives, hoping to gain a spot on the international market.

Highlight of the week was the opening of the Designers Plus Ten exhibition at the Design Museum Holon which features work of some 42 Israeli designers who graduated in 2000-2003. The overview shows two works by each creative; one from the start of their career, one from the past year.

“Ten years is significant because it marks the beginning of Google images”, says Galit Gaon. “Before that, our design students only had limited reference books from which to gain inspiration. It’s great to see how some designers have stayed close to their initial ideas and others have veered towards completely new things.”

A designer whose work has remained within the same framework – albeit in a completely different setting – is watch maker Itay Noy. A graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven, this Israeli-born designer saw his timepieces picked up by Droog design and now is exhibited amongst 40 of his peers in Holon.

These peers include graphic designers, product designers, fashion and industrial designers. Frau Blau for instance gained international acclaim for its use of digital-printed fabrics, creating a trompe-l’oeil effect on beautifully-cut dresses, tops and trousers.

Simple yet effective product design by Sahar Batsry showed how the smallest changes to everyday objects can make a huge difference. Take his X+1 kitchen chair which features a slit to hang your kitchen towel from, or the faucet X+1 which facilitates the hanging of a bucket.

Shiri Cnaani’s textile designs show us how old carpets, handkerchiefs and fabrics can become a thing of beauty thanks to 3-D embroidery, dayglo patterns and metallic prints. On the other hand Adital Ela (also a DAE graduate) promotes sustainable design and lifestyles through her S-sense products made from eco materials. She supports local craftspeople around the world though various projects, sharing their knowledge and creating jobs.

Among the many other designers in the exhibition as well as during the presentations, it was apparent that although Israel only has five design schools in total, the standards at these schools are very high.
“Because there aren’t as many jobs in the design sector as we’d like, many graduates go on to teach”, says Gaon. “This ensures we have the best of the best teaching and inspiring in Israel.”

This first big-scale edition of Holon design week was a great success all round with some 25.000 visitors to the various events. The general consensus between the international directors was that Israeli design is of a high-quality and an aesthetic which wouldn’t seem out of place at any fair or trade show in the West. Although they would be sorely missed in Israel, let’s hope more Israeli designers find their way to the global market.       

Main image: Reddish with in collaboration with Oded Friedland photo: Dan Lev

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