Israel’s Design Museum Holon presents Soft Landscape, a playful installation by multidisciplinary designer Sarit Shani Hay defined by a composition of gentle forms that become home to sea lions, seals and bears.

Specialising in child-centric design, Shani Hay has applied her expertise and creative approach to public and private interiors, furniture, products and toys. ‘My work is motivated by the profound need to reformulate things; I create an aesthetic world around me, using design as an excuse,’ she says. ‘Childhood has been a continuous source of inspiration and serves as the force behind my passion for design. I believe that the environment children grow up in is the ground on which their sensibilities develop, and that childhood should be treasured and celebrated.’

Design Museum Holon Soft Landscape by Sarit Shani Hay

Her installation features architectural, cushioned shapes that reference an imaginary coastline in tones of blue and taupe, upholstered in New Zealand lambswool and created in collaboration with British company Camira Fabrics. The pieces’ sinuous silhouettes are placed in conversation with the curves of Ron Arad’s Design Museum Holon architecture, visible outside the exhibition space.

Animals are a recurring motif in Shani Hay’s work. Throughout her practice, their stylised forms have become toys, furniture and places of relaxation. ‘Sarit Shani Hay uses animals to construct a private, imaginary jungle motivated by an empathic human gaze and a desire to overcome archaic fears,’ says the museum’s curator, Maya Dvash. 

Design Museum Holon Soft Landscape by Sarit Shani Hay

Now open at the museum, the installation’s soothing forms come at a fitting time. ‘I started to work on the installation a year ago; it was the beginning of Covid-19 and there was a great feeling of uncertainty and anxiety,’ says Shani Hay. ‘I have become interested in the therapeutic effects of time spent in nature, particularly on children, a feeling that was enhanced during the pandemic. I’ve strived to create spaces that provide a sort of escape, a meditative feeling.’ §