Doing Design: City living with dreams of nature

When not dreaming of working with animals, Nir Meiri can be found in his Tel Aviv studio creating new and innovative designs.

Nir Meiri designs 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Nir Meiri designs 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Einat Kayless Argaman founded DesignBreak in 2009 and since then has gained a large community of daily readers celebrating the design scene in Israel and beyond.
Ordinary materials aren't enough when your name is Nir Meiri. From sand to chipboard to concrete, just name it and Nir will come up with the most extraordinary creation.
This enthusiastic guy doesn’t stop surprising with a constant flow of new designs.His brain works 24/7 and tries to keep up with his passion for design. Even a bitten apple got its own stylish vassal
Can you tell me a little bit about your background?
I’m a graduate of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, class of 2007. During my studies I attended a student exchange program at "Politechnico de Milano" school in Milan, where I studied Industrial and Interior Design.
Right after my graduation, I was chosen to Keter's excellence program d-VISION, for product development and industrial design, where I worked as an industrial designer. Today I am an independent industrial designer specializing in lighting fixtures and furniture.
When did you first decide that you wanted to become a designer?
I used to draw and build model kits when I was a kid. As I grew older, the urge to draw and create things became stronger. I found myself drawn to three dimensional objects and with time I realized that Industrial Design is what I should pursue as a profession.
Where do you live? What stands out about living where you are, and how does it affect your creations?
My studio is located in Tel Aviv, one of my all times favorite cities in the world. There is something liberating and informal about this city, which stimulates my sense of creativity. Many of my projects begin with stuff that I see and pickup along the way while wandering the streets. With that being said, I try to stay open minded towards other experiences and that's why it's very important for me to travel as mush as I can. The places I go, ultimately find their way into my creation/work.
Tell me about your process, what is your typical working method? Do you sketch things out by hand or go right to the computer?
When I start working on a project it all starts with an initial idea that pops into my head. Early in the process, I build a prototype and test the materials I want to work with. I also draw sketches by hand and then at some point it all fits together. I find this method effective because it holds the opportunity to discover directions and ideas that I didn't think of at first. It all allows me to evolve until I find my way to the finished product.
I know it’s probably hard to pick, but do you have a favorite piece?
Usually the project I am currently working on is my favorite. In each new project, I try to experiment with different materials, and then I fall in love with it for a period of time. Lately, I've been focusing on the wonders of concrete, and my concrete plates are the love child of this affair.
What are some of your methods of staying motivated, focused, and expressive?
My motivation comes from observing my surroundings all the time. Our lives are surrounded with many things that are stimulus for creativity. I believe that the motivation must come from within. If design burns in your bones and you are truly motivated, the rest will follow.
What are your sources of inspiration?
A great deal of my inspiration comes from the world of nature. There is something intriguing about nature's colors and symmetry that can defiantly point to an animalistic aspect in many of my designs.
Could you share with us your progression as an artist, compared to when you first started out, how have you changed since then?
The change is primarily the experience I'm gaining. Each project I've designed left me more experienced and has opened a new door for more knowledge and preparation. These days, I feel more in-tune with my individual design style and more focused than I was two years ago. Moreover, my method of constantly experimenting with new things has been with me since the start of my journey.
What advice do you have for young designers who want to follow your path?
Well, my advice, as Cliché as it sounds, which has worked for me like a charm every time: Don't give up, don't back down, believe in your way and be attentive to your surroundings. Other than that, I believe that when one door closes, a new window will open.
What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting out?
One life changing lesson I learned is that you need to be decisive. It makes life much easier!
Where do you see yourself within the next few years?
In the near future I hope to see a line of my designs being manufactured by companies I look up to (keep your fingers crossed). Companies that evaluate design no less then the financial profit (I think it's important to have a balance between these two). To name a few: Cappellini, Alessi and Flos believe that good design is an important and integral part of the essence of the product. They aren't afraid to invest in the development of the process and it shows in the end result.
Do you listen to music whilst you work? What’s playing in your studio right now?
My taste in music is pretty much eclectic and as much as my design (I try not to limit myself to specific materials or to certain types of product). That being said, the soundtracks in my studio change according to my current state of mind. At the moment I'm listening to Berry Sakharof.
If you weren't a designer, what would you be?
Most probably it would have to do with working with animals. This is something I have carried with me since childhood and for a long time I thought I would become a zoologist. Come to think of it, I see my products as still creatures.
What are you working on at the moment?
These days I'm working on a project that involves sand. It includes light fixtures and furniture made of sand. What excites me the most about this project is the exploration of a non-conventional material and the anticipation of how it will turn out.
Finally, tell us something no one knows about you.
Only a few know that as a teenager, because of my love for animals I used to volunteer at the safari in Ramat Gan.
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