Ziva Haller is an Art Historian living near and working in Jerusalem and the publisher of DesignistDream (say it slowly), a blog about Israeli design. Ziva will be cross-posting on ModernTribe's blog where we seek to discover modern design for Judaica and in the Jewish world.
A stint at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem brought great meaning for Ziva: a feeling of contributing to the Jewish state. She soon decided to make Israel her permanent residence.
Here are Ziva's insights into Israeli design today.
What is most striking about Israeli design today?
Two things: first, how the tradition of arts and crafts as learned in Europe strongly influenced Israel's first national artists and aesthetic - Boris Schatz, Zeev Raban, EM Lilien and the Bezalel Academy of Art; second, how influential and pioneering certain Israeli designers are now in the field of design - Arik Levy, Ron Arad and Ilan Dei for example. How and where the two meet are what I'm trying to figure out in my blog as I discover new centers for design and creativity in Israel and meet more and more designers and their works.
What forces do you think are spurring the innovation and modern design boom in Israel?
I do think that modern design production and appreciation is really taking off locally. More and more online and boutique shops are cropping up and it's amazing to see how far Israeli designers are reaching these days. When I was putting together my Hanukkah Gift Guide I was amazed to see Israeli design products on specialty children's clothing and accessory sites, museum stores, haute design centers like DWR, and then Target too. Israel is even building its first Design Center which will include a museum and library/ materials resource in Holon. Designed by Ron Arad - which is a super feat in itself to have him back here - it points to the fact that Israeli design is now worthy of its own shrine to its process and product. I think globalization is really a catalyst for access to and interest in Israeli designers. I think for Israeli art and design students especially - where creativity and ingenuity are just booming it seems - having access to global companies, designers, studios, etc is a natural extension of where they expect to go after graduating.
Do you see any obstacles that Israeli designers are going to need to overcome before Israel can truly become the new Italy?
For sure Israel's image abroad is one obstacle. It's hard to get past the conflict of Israel to learn more about the everyday lives here - what we admire, want in our homes, want to look at, wear, etc. Also I think the language barrier prevents many from simply accessing many designers online. Google searches for designers in English are often limited. Many only seem to create websites for their work in Hebrew and that's a big oversight in my opinion.
What are some of your future plans for DesignistDream?
More posts per day for a rotating glance at home decor, design items, art and fashion. More interviews with designers are also on the horizon. I am thinking about compiling shopping guides for Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for top designs in fashion, furniture and housewares - and tour guides for visitors to our fine country - where to see great works, where to buy them, special events, etc.. Finally, I am planning a grand redesign of the site which I'm really excited about, so stay tuned for that too.
You can read more from Ziva at DesignistDream.com.