16 April 2015

Israeli Design.
Shira Keret

Text: Jessica Sicking, Susanne Heinlein

In form 259 we are concerned with the design in a country that is mainly present in the media because of its political conflicts: Israel. At the same time it has to offer a vibrant and multifaceted design scene, at whose protagonists we took a closer look. You find more portraits of Israeli designers and studios both in form 259 and form Dossiers.



Shira Keret founded her Tel Aviv-based studio last year and dedicates her work to product and space design. Her focus lies on experimenting with different materials and techniques. She is also member of Four’n’Five, a collective made up of nine young Israeli designers. 


Studio: Laniado Keret Studio

Website: shirakeret.com

Year of foundation: 2014

Employees: 1–2

Fields of work: houseware, lighting, furniture, conceptual thinking

Clients: small scale manufacturing for clients and concept development like Jaffa Port, U-Bank, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Intel, Ran Wolf Urban Planning Company



In your opinion, what is special about design in Israel?


In a nutshell: difficulties create new opportunities. The lack of small industry and manufacturers in Israel cause many designers to choose the designer-maker path. When you are your own manufacturer your creativity has less external constraints. And when you are getting to the core of the making process, you might be lucky and find some opportunities to innovate in that field.



What characterises your work respectively your design and style?


It’s hard for me to observe my own style but you could say that I’m fascinated by shapes, details, colours, materials, crafts and modern technology. I like the unexpected results of their combinations. I guess what mostly characterises my work is the attempt to manipulate materials and structures into doing what I want.



You have lived in Italy for a while. What new insights or perspectives did you gain during your time abroad?


I spent my student exchange at Milan’s Politecnico and it was a great opportunity for me to get in touch with different approaches to design. In Bezalel Academy of Art and Design’s industrial design department we were highly influenced by a modernist perspective, which is also very dominant in the Israeli landscape. So it was really great getting to know a different culture, different methods of crafts and how, for example, the slow food movement is reflected in many aspects of life.


What is the Four’n’Five design group and why did you decide to join?


In 2010, right after graduating, me, Itay Laniado and seven other people from our class founded the Four’n’Five design group. It started as a design collective and we worked together on the same space, organised design events and exhibitions. We shared the same values towards design but with as many approaches to design as the number of people. Nowadays, each person has taken his own path, though we still collaborate from time to time.



Where do you find the inspiration for your designs?


Anything can trigger inspiration, whether it’s a one dollar store toy or a conversation, a book, a movie or a landscape. When it comes at the right time and at the right mind set it becomes inspiration.
Each design process is different, but for me it usually starts with an image or an idea that I was formulating in my imagination and then sketch it and shift it into the real world. In many cases I feel that the design process is the attempt to compromise as little as possible in the transition from reality to fantasy. On the other hand there could also be a desire to work with a particular material or a particular technology and that desire could lead to a different type of process. You could say that these two ends of the process will eventually meet in the final object.



How do you combine the contrasting themes of art and design and respectively appearance and functionality in your work?


Concept wise, I don’t feel that there is a big contrast between art and design.
Because I define myself as an industrial designer I always strive to treat all my designs as if they are industrially produced products. Therefore, even if the actual object is made only once, there will always be a potential for mass production in it. In my opinion, if it’s impossible to produce something more than once, it belongs to the field of art rather than to the design field. However, of course, designing an object that is intended for commercial production is much more complex and the designer should take into account factors such as budget, ease of use, durability etc. In general, the important thing is to remember that at the end of this process, there is a client who needs to love your product and pay for it and be satisfied.


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