The legs have it

Modern style, a minimalist touch and avant-garde decor runs deeply through this tastefully unique home in Savyon near Tel Aviv.

A simple and vibrant statue of legs, by artist Eran Shakin, is visible through the picture window from the swimming pool. (photo credit: URIEL MESSA)
A simple and vibrant statue of legs, by artist Eran Shakin, is visible through the picture window from the swimming pool.
(photo credit: URIEL MESSA)
A tribute to simplicity and minimalism, this stunning dwelling houses no strident colors or superfluous decorations, yet is magnificent nonetheless. Clean lines, interesting textures and a variety of finishes instead make its impact.
And of course, it helps if you put a bronze sculpture of a pair of legs by artist Eran Shakin plumb at the large picture window overlooking the swimming pool.
What more of a wow factor does anyone need? The home belongs to a young couple, Iris and Shai, and is situated in the green township of Savyon near Tel Aviv, where nary a high-rise building sullies the horizon.
With a population of around 4,000, it is home to some of the most splendid villas in Israel.
Shai works at the Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan, and Iris is a kindergarten teacher; they have a 10-year-old daughter.
The couple built their home two years ago and turned to well-known architect Gal Marom to produce the design. A graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, he set up his own firm in 2004 after working as an executive architect in several leading firms in Israel.
“We saw his work through friends who had used him and liked his modern, minimalist approach,” says Iris. “We envisioned a resort-like space with everything open, and we told him what we wanted.”
A 3.5-by-12-meter pool runs along the side of the house and is visible from the living room. It is surrounded by a deck, with loungers for sunbathing in the secluded garden.
The bronze legs, which were not included in Marom’s original design, belong to a series of sculptures called “Supermodel.” Shakin, who was born in 1962, is a prolific worker in several media, and when Shai saw one of the series at an exhibition, he immediately thought it would look good in his new home.
“He originally brought a pair of legs even thinner than these, and I thought they looked anorexic so I had him change them,” says Iris. “I’m very interested in fashion and I felt they depict a model which appealed to me, but they also make a powerful and dramatic statement.”
The bronze of the sculpture is repeated on the side of the staircase, unifying the two separate areas, while the stairs are made of dark gray stone. Other textures that provide a visual jolt are the rough concrete walls, contrasted with smooth white pillars holding up the area in place of solid walls, and the many blinds that can be opened and closed at will to change the look.
“There are about five of the pillars, and I really like the effect – it’s rather like living on a yacht,” says Iris.
The lounge is furnished almost entirely in black and white, with just a few patterned throw pillows on the black leather settee. Yet it is far from being stark and unwelcoming; the white square armchair is full of pretty frilled white cushions, while against one wall Iris has displayed her collection of Vogue magazines.
“I have about 1,000,” says Iris, “so I change them around every so often.”
A small tray on the natural oak, oval coffee table holds candles and a flower arrangement. Two cowhide rocking chairs in brown and white provide contrast, while a large Yuval Shaul painting from his “Galaxy” series is placed over the black sofa, reflecting the pattern of the blinds in its glass.
The television screen is on a pillar and can be turned to the patio outside the large wall of windows on one side, and even to the pool on the other. Other than one large hanging disc, most of the lighting is comprised of inset spots in the ceiling.
The kitchen, part of the same open plan, is mainly white, with some oak veneer on several cabinets and lime green leather chairs.
The upstairs bathroom is a tranquil room, with a freestanding bath perched on a deck, with parquet flooring, white marble and billowing white curtains covering the blinds.
With its wooden Prodema exterior, decks around the garden and louvered blinds, the exterior has a certain rustic quality – but those legs quickly dispel any impression that this is a conventional, prosaic house.
“Yes, we do get a lot of reactions,” says Shai. “Mostly people love them – or at least they say they do.”