Israeli Design. Itai Bar-On
In form 259 we explore 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 can find more portraits of Israeli designers and studios both in form 259 and form Dossiers.
Itai Bar-on has a long family history in the construction business; this is not only visible in his lighting and product design, but also in his passion for rough materials. Despite all the new technologies that came up in recent years, he strongly believes in the necessity to work with one’s own hands.
Studio: Studio Itai Bar-On
Year of foundation: 2010
Fields of work: lighting, wall cladding
Clients: architects, interior designers
In your opinion, what is special about design in Israel?
What is very interesting about design in Israel is that the industry is not so developed, therefore you must invent your own way of working. This lack of ability of the industry forces you to develop your own language in order to make your ideas come true.
What characterises your work respectively your design and style?
I would say that it is divided into two fields. On the one hand, I love to develop methods and from there design the products. I love the trial and error way, which is not predictable and surprises you every time. On the other hand, I like to do simple designs using known materials and doing simple moves – this can be very refreshing and innovative.
Which cultural and personal aspects influence your work?
I am really influenced by what is happening in the world right now. It seems that 3D printing is taking over the world, but to me it seems that everything looks the same and you lose your own identity as a designer. Most of the young designers are stuck to the computer and don’t really feel the materials themselves, therefore I see it as an opportunity to go back to a low-tech way of working: to feel the materials, work with your hands and leave the convenient territory of the computer.
Which cultural influences are especially important for the domain of lighting design?
The lighting field is flowing. There is an upsurge for the LED technology and slowly we can see how more and more designers get involved in this field, which is amazing. I can see the technology upgrading itself over the time and I am amazed every year about the new inventions that give the designers tools to do beautiful things.
Which role does craft play in your work?
As someone who works with his hands, craft plays a big role. I think that this is what characterises myself best as I work on several parameters: technology, method, material.
How do you choose the materials you work with?
I choose my materials randomly. It depends on what really interests me at a certain moment. For example right now I am working with wood and I am trying to combine it with other materials to do simple manipulations and see what happens.
Why did you choose concrete as one of the materials you work with?
The reason I chose to work with concrete is very simple, my father is a building constructor and I was exposed to cement all life, basically. I started to work with it when I was a student and I am doing it still.