(photo credit: )
Ever since their third year of Industrial Design studies at the Holon Institute of Technology, Mali Rochman and Netta Mayor have been coming up with interesting ways to solve practical problems.
At the end of their third year, after completing a project to maximize kitchen space in a small home, Rochman and Mayor both spent a summer in New York babysitting.
"Even though we don't have children yet, we spent a lot of time taking care of babies, and we realized that baby bottles need better designs to meet the needs of parents today," explains Rochman. "So we decided to design three different bottles for our final student project that would provide solutions to parents to make middle-of-the-night feedings easier."
The first, a bottle that you can pre-load with formula and water, allows parents to simply shake the bottle to mix the formula instead of having to do it at the last minute in the middle of the night. The second design is a disposable model that shrinks to fit the formula inside. "You can take this one wherever you go; simply add water to it and then throw it away like a diaper once you've used it. It's great for trips, and it doesn't take up much space," says Mayor.
The third bottle addresses the problem of needing two hands to make bottles but desperate for a third to calm a crying baby at the same time. Rochman and Mayor said parents had told them they sometimes put babies on the counter-top while making a bottle in order to try and make food and quiet hungry stomachs. "We designed a bottle that you can use with one hand instead of two so that you can hold the baby while you make the bottle instead of having to use two hands to screw on the top."
After getting excellent feedback from parents and professors, Rochman and Mayor got an international patent on their baby bottle designs and are currently working on marketing them abroad.
After graduation, the duo decided to work on "projects for the soul" together and have participated in a number of design exhibitions and artistic endeavors since 2004.
"We named our designs MANE because it combines the letters of our first names," says Rochman. She has started her own company with another partner, while Mayor works for the IDEA design studio. "During the week, I earn a living designing personalized gifts, and Netta works for a design studio, but on Saturdays, we meet to create things for ourselves."
One of the first designs of the MANE duo after graduation was a set of unique candles. Made entirely of wax, the candles adhere to the classic structure of a traditional Shabbat candle, but when you light the wick, the entire candle lights up inside, from top to bottom. "We designed the candles and the candlesticks all as one piece for a competition that called for products that cost less than 100 shekels," says Mayor. They are available in a number of Tel Aviv locations and from MANE directly.
In their latest endeavor, Rochman and Mayor teamed up for a project embodying the Israeli spirit of improvisation. The pair decided on a base material of zip ties because they were inexpensive and flexible and had associations with the army.
"Soldiers often put zip ties on the side of their guns in case they need to handcuff a terrorist or prisoner and don't have anything else to use," says Rochman. "This adds another connection to the Israeliness that we wanted to capture: the use of zip ties in a pinch for the IDF. We called the exhibition 'The Israeli Connection,' meaning both connected to the Israeli mentality and to the motion of our hands connecting the zip ties together in an aesthetically pleasing way."
Far from capturing terrorists, MANE used the ties to hand-weave beautiful decorations for the home - and the best part about it is that you would never know their creations were made of zip ties. All white, the baskets, vases, tabletops and standing lamps are composed of tiny fragments of plastic. Each zip tie is looped together with several others and then pulled to the end to knot the circular patterns together.
"Because these items are flexible, they can go into many different spaces, and we wanted to make something for the home that would be beautiful, practical and inexpensive," says Mayor.
Their next project, still largely a secret, involves a new product that will reflect light onto the wall in different shapes.
The pair says they have numerous ideas for future endeavors, and they hope the sale of their baby bottles will enable them to continue designing more products with a greater variety of materials for a larger market.