Israeli Design. Naama Hofman
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.
Naama Hofman creates lighting objects that appear to be flat, angular and even two-dimensional at first sight. With her designs she aims to experiment with the product category itself and inspire people to question product forms and the perception of light in general – and with that combine the sometimes contrasting fields of art and design.
Studio: Naama Hofman Light Objects
Year of foundation: 2010
Fields of work: lighting and object design
Clients: architects, interior designers and shops
What characterises your work respectively your design and style?
My works are, at first sight, flat, angular and two-dimensional, almost as lines in space. The light source and its illumination always dictate the object and its material. In most of my light objects I use an LED strip, its features – long and narrow – allow me to design lean light tubes and to create an object that holds this light with only what is necessary to maintain its functionality.
How do you combine art and design in your work?
Every object that I design and create in my studio is going through long processes of thinking and development. It takes months to create a new object and then a few more to refine it.
I think that the thinking phase of my work is closer to art than design. First, I think about light and its features – that is the main driver for me – then I “dress” it with a material. I am not thinking about the production or the customer at that point. When an object is finished the outcome is sometimes an unusual looking object and a strange one to use, but I like it and that is the main point of my work. To surround ourselves with good long lasting objects, designed to arouse our thinking about light, how it should look, and how we can give a different meaning to the word “lamp”. I think that a lot of people say its art just because they don’t see it as a lamp, but it is.
What role do cultural influences play in lighting and especially your designs?
I think that material developments and new lighting technologies help us to design more efficient and creative objects. The options are getting insanely broad – from the type of illumination we use to the materials that hold it. It’s a real challenge to know all your options and how to use them. My work is influenced mostly by technology and LED developments; my latest work 010 is designed with a new technology called O-LED. With this light object I’m creating new colours and shades of light by using the basic O-LED light cells differently than what was originally intended by the manufacturer.
I am very much inspired by fashion, art, street light, shades and all the things I see on Instagram. I try to know what is going on, what is the Zeitgeist and then go the other way. I think that when we shoot the light objects we try to capture the time and place and be relevant with our art direction.
How important are aspects like local production to you?
The studio manufactures with the best craftsmen In Tel Aviv–Jaffa. In the process of manufacturing, each craftsman prepares a different part of the light object, which later is assembled in the Jaffa studio. It's not easy to find good craftsmen, but once you do you never leave them.
Working closely and side by side with professionals gives me an accurate perspective on their work and abilities; we can adjust each other to both our needs. Our relationship builds over time and that helps us to produce the objects in a smarter and faster way. For me its very important to work close with the manufactures – in fact I work and live in the heart of the industrial area in the south of Tel Aviv, driving only ten minutes by bicycle from one to the other – sometimes seeing all of them in one day.