During Holon Design Week dozens of promising young designers made presentations to a panel of design week directors and global design leaders. We saw everything from jewelry, fashion, product, housewares, furniture and brand new materials. Meet five of the ten best designers emerging in Israel's growing design community.
1. Tal Zur
Only a few designers focused on Judaica, and the best pieces came from Tal Zur, the only designer to brazenly declare "I don't have a website" as she handed out handmade booklets of her work instead. Her portfolio included two different Kiddush glasses, one of which doubled as a wine stopper—a clever way to pass both the glass and wine bottle around the table. My favorite of Tal's designs are the self-slicing Hallah Handles, a clever silicone and ceramic device that bakes with the bread and then slices it when you pull the handles. It's a perfect example of how to make localized design appeal to a global audience. I may not be Jewish but I still love bread.
Tal Mor and Shlomi Azulay of DAG have created a clever line of make-it-yourself home items. Their Alenby Lamp is nothing more than an aluminum lampshade that's pressed in place against a wooden or Corian base and a rubber cast light housing. Tal and Shlomi made the pressing machine themselves as a solution to the ongoing problem young Israeli designers face of finding local manufacturers. Their other lamp, the Fixie, is twisted into place with flexible joinery made of silicone rubber-coated copper wire.
3. Or Halbrecht
Or showed us a collection of large bangles and earrings made by bending gold and silver wire into seemingly haphazard geometrical shapes, so that even in a single pair of earrings no two pieces are alike. Those are quite lovely and garnered some oohs and aahs from the female panel members, but it was her sunflower seed necklaces that really made an impact. Sunflower seeds are ubiquitous in Israel. The discarded shells cover sidewalks and shop floors as men and women alike walk about, chewing and spitting as they go. As far as I can tell, Or is the only designer to elevate the spat out shells into cast gold jewelry. Each golden seed is cast from a real sunflower seed shell, so like her other pieces, no two are alike.
Meirav takes a unique approach to lighting with designs like Papela, a paper lamp that arrives crumpled up in ball, allowing you to open it up and shape it yourself. Her Photosynthesis Lamp is a light bulb and a hanging planter surrounded by a cage for your crawling plant to grow on with the help of the light bulb itself, helping to offset the energy used to power the lamp.
Each of Mirit's jewelry collections draw inspiration from very specific sources like birds, badminton and the human spine. Her Shuttlecock collection is the most stunning, with ruffled, feathery bits of creme-colored chiffon sprouting from their golden bases. I love how her mix of texture and material yields unexpected results. Her woven, gold-dipped raffia necklaces and bracelets were similarly striking and surprisingly lightweight.