Doing Design: Crafting her way through life

As part of her design process, Meirav Barzilay loves to mix traditional craft techniques with the mechanics of serial production.

Meirav Barzilay designs
Meirav Barzilay designs
Meirav Barzilay designs
Meirav Barzilay designs
Meirav Barzilay designs
Meirav Barzilay designs
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.
Meirav Barzilay has been busy bee. Since graduating from the Holon Institute of Technology's Industrial Design Department three years ago, this girl has kept on pushing the boundaries. Her name is everywhere, whether it's the Holon Design Museum, the Design Space gallery or major design blogs. As part of her design process, Meirav loves to mix traditional craft techniques with the mechanics of serial production. She has a way of looking at things like no one else, and she's here to stay.
When did you first decide that you wanted to become a designer?
In my High School years I was exposed to photography and cinema. I always had the drive to create new things by using my imagination. Product design seemed a natural path for me to express my creativity.
Where do you live? What stands out about living where you are, and how does it affect your creations?
I live in the center of Tel Aviv. I'm an urban individual, who loves the urban lifestyle. I'm truly inspired by Tel Aviv; the buildings, street art, fashion, shops and even the decay and the neglected parts of the city.
Tell me about your process, what is your typical working method? Do you sketch things out by hand or head straight to the computer?
My working method changes according to the project. Each design concept dictates its own process.I always start by hand sketching my initial idea, just to put it on paper, I try not to be judgmental or think about the small design details. Afterward, I examine the idea more closely and draw out a specific road map.It might continue with studying the materials I want to work with or research a certain topic online, conducting a design audit or an interview. Fast forwarding, after many mockups and many more sketches I’ll make a small prototype series before finding the way to produce it in the final scale and material.
What was your first commission?
I designed a fortune cookie key ring. I put it on display in a big cookie jar and they sold out within the hour :)
I know it’s probably hard to pick, but do you have a favorite piece?
Actually, I love my work only when I start working on it. When I'm done, I don't look at it anymore. I know, it’s quite strange but I think it’s what keeps me motivated to rethink and create new and exciting products.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Traveling, fashion, movies and other designers all inspire me. Just a few weeks ago I saw Woody Allen’s latest movie Midnight in Paris which inspired some ideas.
Could you share with us your progression as an artist, compared to when you first started out? How have you changed since then?
Though I still see myself as a young designer, I think I’ve grown up in my profession, I'm more confident in my designs, I trust my instincts more easily and I feel good in the direction I'm going.
What advice do you have for young designers who want to follow your path?
My only advice is to keep working! When you finish studying you realize that no one is waiting for you out there. The hardest thing is to create when you don't have a client or a deadline. It’s very easy to give up, so don’t! Be consistent and continue to do what you’re good at. I believe that’s the secret.
What was one of your biggest lessons since you started?
I've learned that when you start a project you never know where it's going to end up. It might seem worthless at first but surprise you later. The "Home sweet home" cushions I designed were one of those cases; I never gave them a second thought after I finished them and now they are on exhibit in the Holon design museum.
Where do you see yourself within the next few years?
I hope to see myself working on many more projects and collaborating with international design companies, such as Moroso, Flos, Baccarat, Moooi or with great designers such as Patricia Urquiola or Jaime Hayon.
Do you listen to music whilst you work? What’s playing in your studio right now?
Hmm… Amy Winehouse, Nina Simon, Beatles, The Smiths.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Maybe a stewardess! I love going abroad and I actually almost became one.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I'm working on a project inspired by farm life. I'm playing with the idea of bringing farm life indoors.
I know your better half is a designer too. Did you ever think about becoming the next power couple in the design world? Is he involved in your work?
Actually we never thought of working together because we are quite the opposite when if comes to our work methods. He is more impulsive and last minute and I like a good plan. In addition, we are interested in very different fields of design. Ultimately I think it’s better for our relationship to  keep things separate, but don’t get me wrong, he is very involved in my work, I always like to show him things I come up with and get his advice as much as I can.
Finally, tell us something no one knows about you...
That I have a rabbit named Lenin, when I bought it I thought it was a “he” and to my surprise after ten days she gave birth to six little bunnies.
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