A decade of design

An exhibition of 42 Israeli designers and their work will help mark Design Week Holon.

'Corkers' (photo credit: Dan Lev)
(photo credit: Dan Lev)
While it is, of course, wonderfully refreshing to hear new graduates talk about their plans for the future, if you want to get a street-level angle, there is nothing like checking out what the artists have been up to in the past.
That is what the Designers Plus Ten exhibition sets out to do as part of Design Week Holon, which opened on Sunday under the auspices of the local municipality. The show, which will run until May 19, incorporates the work of 42 Israeli designers who have been active in the field for the past 10 years.
“We went on the assumption that, if you’ve been doing the same job for 10 years you must, by definition, be serious about what you’re doing, you must be a professional,” says exhibition curator Galit Gaon.
The idea is also very much to get the still-young designers’ work out there, and to interest industry and management professionals, various local authorities and heads of public utility corporations, as well as the general public, in what some of our brightest artists are capable of producing.
The exhibition lineup covers a multitude of esthetic areas, and includes works by shoe and bag designer Shani Bar, who graduated from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in 2003, branding and packaging designer Yotam Bezalel, who has run his own studio since 2002, illustrator and comic book artist Asaf Hanuka, and Bezalel graduate and Shenkar College of Design teacher and graphic designer Noy Naiman.
Design Week Holon focuses on designers, their work and the role they play in everyday life in Israel.
The focus of the Designers Plus Ten exhibition will be a personal narrative of the various fields of design in Israel. As Gaon explains, the idea is to feature the work of designers with a decade of experience in the field on an annual basis. Each year during Design Week the museum exhibition will provide a platform for a new and different cross-section of designers.
The initial show features work by a group of designers who graduated between 2000 and 2002, in the fields of textile design, fashion design, industrial design, accessories design, jewelry design, visual communication, and digital design. The exhibits of each individual designer are shown in films, photographs and two tangible objects, one from the start of the designer’s career, and the other produced during the past year. The items on show are also accompanied by a text in which each designer describes their work processes, artistic and logistic considerations, and distinctiveness as a creator.
Gaon says that the focus is very much on the individual designers and their work, rather than taking a general view of the state of the industry in the country as a whole.
Even so, examining exhibits by 42 designers, from right across the design spectrum, must provide some idea of where we are at on a nationwide basis.
“Yes it does reflect the general situation, but each group of graduates, from a particular generation, have to contend with problems that are both similar and different,” says the curator. “Also, after 10 years in the business, you can relate to these people as a major group of professionals.”
The curator points to another important cyberspace development, which helped to define the temporal milestone of the exhibition, and which has significantly impacted on the work of every designer since.
“Ten years ago Google introduced Google Images, and Google in Hebrew. Before that people went to the library to look for material but, since then, every designer has had instant access to a far wider range of influences.”
Rapid technological advances notwithstanding, Gaon says that this year’s Design Week Holon exhibitors still feed off the old-school approach.
“The members of this group still work very close to the actual material, they are far less digital than the designers that followed them, and they have fewer web sites.
There is something far more personal about their work, which reflects who they are. I am all for it.”
Design Week Holon also sets out to cast our design net as far and wide as possible, and to put Holon on the international map. Over the coming week, the directors of 18 similar events which take place across the globe, including Eindhoven, Berlin, Lodz, Cape Town, Belgrade, Beijing and Tokyo, will survey the fruits of our designers’ labor and hold one-on-one meetings with them.
“Hopefully, some of our designers will get invited to show their work at design weeks in different parts of the world,” explains Gaon.
According to Gaon we have something good to offer the rest of the world.
“The design situation in this country is very complex. We have a very talented bunch of people, who have highly individual designs to offer, but on the other hand, they don’t have enough clients. They often have to push their creations out there, instead of the industry coming to look for them.”
That, hopes Gaon, will at least in part be redressed in Holon this week.
In addition to the exhibition, Design Week Holon incorporates other exhibitions at various locations across the city, workshops, architectural consultancy sessions, musical jam sessions and movement design spots.