Doing Design: From Jaffa with love

The creative minds behind Reddish Studios speak about their passion for inanimate objects.

Naama and Idan (photo credit: Shay Ben Efraim)
Naama and Idan
(photo credit: Shay Ben Efraim)
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.

Naama Steinbock and Idan Friedman do it all together. From cooking to walking Batya (their dog) and yes, even designing.These busy bees are the two behind Reddish Studio. Since they first began their joint journey in 2002, they are going strong, designing memorable, sentimental and minimalistic items. They believe in “spending most of their time helping objects feel better about themselves” and by the look of it, they are doing it with flying colors. When looking at their creations, you can’t miss their passion and admiration for tradition and craftsmanship and it almost feels like their items could take a leading role in an animated film.  Naama and Idan are much more concerned with the background and heritage of their items and raw materials rather then with the future of their career. This leads to the creation of much more sensitive and thoughtful items such as their Louis 900 table lamps with their antique furniture legs or Dov, with its bubbly aluminum cast. Can you tell me a little bit about your backgrounds?We were both born in the same year (1975) and in the same town. We went to the same school (H.I.T. Holon Academic Institute of Technology) in the same year and for the same reasons. Other then that, we are totally different. What’s it like working with your life partner? How does it work and who does what?We are lucky. It’s working very well for us. Most people find it horrific to work with their spouse, but we quite like each other and we get along quite well so it’s great. While one of us is doing the dishes, the other is doing the laundry. In terms of design, we mix and mach tasks – that way no one is stuck with the occasional boring stuff.  When did you first decide that you wanted to become designers? Idan: I wanted to become a designer as a teenager.Naama: Around the age of 20 I learned the name of what was in my head – “product designer.” At that time it was not so well-known.Where do you live, what do you like about it and how does it affect your creations?We live and work in Jaffa. We moved here a few months ago and we love it.We love the atmosphere, the good food, the ocean breeze and the neighbors.Our home and studio share the same location: Divided but together. Moving from the kitchen to the studio allows us to live and work at the same time. Be a designer, a cook, a maid, a dog walker, and a sleeping beauty simultaneously. It brings a bit of humor and a good perspective to our designs.Can you briefly describe your process for creating a new design?Usually an idea comes to mind. From that moment we try to do our best to make it work – sketching, modeling, laughing, crying, and sketching some more.It’s probably difficult to choose but… do you have a favorite project?Since our projects are very sensitive, we prefer not to choose. They tend to get offended.  What do you do to stay inspired and motivated to create?For inspiration we use our senses as recording devises. Which place in the world most inspires you and why?Inspiration is truly all around us, so we just have to notice things and pick them up. Although it’s all over and you don’t have to travel far, we like to travel a lot. Not just for inspiration but mostly for fun. What are some other passions you have besides art and design?We try to keep ourselves fueled in general. As humans, we try to do what we like to do and to dodge the nasty stuff in life. What challenges have you overcome as designers?The agony of ideas that refuse to be born. Could you share with us your progression as designers, compared to when you first started out, how have you changed since then?Now we are more balanced. It is good and bad at the same time. We find ourselves less exited when good things happen and less depressed when something breaks. Do you ever hit a creative block – if so, how do you get out of it?Of course the blocks are there. As designers we try to look above or around the wall, we try to dig beneath it or to find small holes in its blocks. That is our job, our mission, even if it is a little dramatic. Devotion, patience, and a good drill helps.What advice do you have for young designers who want to follow your path?Don’t [follow our path]. Make your own path. Be courageous and honest as much as you can. Keep your mind flexible for the blurry parts in the path and don’t be afraid to get lost.What has been one of your biggest lessons learned since starting out?To keep creating while believing we are doing what we like to do while checking if we still like it. Most days we do.   At the age of 20, what did you think you were going to do “in life” – where do you see yourself in the future? Has your dream come true already?We are too aware of the present to be bothered about the future. “Growing up” made as believe that dreams and goals are nice, but the absolute dream is to be happy. It is a continual dream and we hope it will keep going on.As a duo, we are lucky to be able to influence each other. That’s a good motivation to keep fresh. We hope we don’t get fed up with ourselves soon.If you weren't a designer, what would you be?Idan: An artistNaama: A cook or a witch. What are you working on at the moment?We just finished a new mobile project named Float for the “How to” exhibition at . We also just finished a new collection of Corkers for Monkey Business. At the moment we are organizing some pieces of an auction in Austria to commission for the Jewish Museum in Berlin. We are also making a grenadine liquor. But mostly we are working on taking time off to go to Italy for two weeks before the semester starts. Read Einat’s blog and follow her designed journey at