Rendezvous with color in downtown Jerusalem

Ginger’s swag is characteristically luminous – so be prepared to go bold or go home in your shopping!

Ginger, a store in downtown Jerusalem (photo credit: YAEL BRYGEL)
Ginger, a store in downtown Jerusalem
(photo credit: YAEL BRYGEL)
Ginger, in downtown Jerusalem, offers customers a rendezvous with kaleidoscopic color and access to intricate hand-crafted housewares from places such as Kashmir, Tibet, Vietnam and China.
Dressed in a decorative kaftan bought in a Thai market, head designer Orit Kesten guided visitors around the store’s spacious Armenian structure on Shimon Ben Shetah Street last month as part of Ginger’s Jerusalem opening, describing the store’s products: decorative cushions, lampshades, tablecloths, serving dishes, rugs, storage accessories, handbags, jewelry and exotic knick-knacks.
“The emphasis is on hand-crafted materials that are a little different,” she explains.
The store spreads over several rooms, each named according to – and resembling – a space one would find in one’s home. The “Salon” for instance, has the look and feel of a lounge, including a large yellow settee with cushions surrounded by ottomans, a coffee table with vases and accessories, surrounded by shelves with dozens of cushions of all sizes.
In a “Dining” room, a kitchen table is bedecked with floral tablecloths and decorative Kashmir pitchers and crockery scattered in a natural fashion. The bright atmosphere evokes a kind of visualization of walking through Southeast Asian markets.
Kesten is one of four partners who founded Ginger’s eight boutiques over the last decade.
The company was established 14 years ago, at first offering private labels to chain stores around the country before opening shops to foot traffic in Tel Aviv, Netanya, Ramat Hasharon and Kiryat Ata. Tel Aviv residents may be more familiar with the brand, as the city boasts three stores there, located in the Dizengoff Center, Neveh Tzedek and Sarona.
Ginger’s swag is characteristically luminous – so be prepared to go bold or go home in your shopping! Alternatively, you may opt for one or two items to serve as showstoppers or feature pieces if your taste is more functional.
As head designer of the chain, Kesten, a textile designer and Shenkar College of Engineering and Design graduate with more than three decades of experience, draws inspiration from her travels around the world, where she forages for unusual traditional handicrafts and textiles at international showcases and marketplaces.
“I spend a lot of time overseas looking for textiles that are slightly different, bringing my own interpretation and style to the label,” she explains.
For Kesten, the emphasis is “folklore,” and she loves becoming acquainted with ancient techniques, whether embroidery, weaving or print.
“One of my favorite places in the world is Guatemala. There they have some of the most intricate traditional weaving techniques that I have ever seen. My husband is a pilot and says that it is far more complex than any of the mechanical skills he uses in flight,” she explains.
Kesten designs most of the store’s products and she sources experienced overseas suppliers that she feels can execute her designs to perfection.
Ginger’s tablecloth line, for example, was designed by Kesten and made overseas using special discharging techniques.
The store’s prices vary. Cushions, for example, range between NIS 50 and NIS 450 and small rugs are available for less than NIS 100.
CEO and co-partner Shlomo Salomon explains the impetus for opening a store in Jerusalem, a city overrun in recent months with security concerns.
“I grew up in Jerusalem and find this place fascinating,” he says.
As his family name suggests, Salomon is a descendant of the famed Yoel Moshe Salomon, one of the founders of the Nahalat Shiva neighborhood where Ginger is today housed, a mere few meters away from Yoel Salomon Street.