Last week saw the launch of the very first Israel Design Week, a five-day-long series of events attended by local architects, designers and design enthusiasts in Tel Aviv and spearheaded by the Israeli Building Center, an organisation with ample experience in producing similar shows over the past decade.
By focusing on various aspects of local design and celebrating its progress and achievement, the organisers aimed at bringing distinguished designers and architects closer to the public, making design accessible to all.
'Israeli designers and architects are involved with more than 350 projects in 58 countries,' said Eran Rolls, founder of Israel Design Week and chairman of the Building Centre, in the opening ceremony, honoured by Tel-Aviv mayor Ron Huldai. 'They design apartment buildings, malls, hotels, restaurants and offices in prime locations. Israel Design Week honours the local design scene.'
'Due to the political climate Israel is a high-tech and military technology nation. Nevertheless, it made a tremendous progress in intellectual property. We have no design tradition to lean on, but rather have complete freedom and intellectual flexibility that give us an advantage,' says Pitsou Kedem, a prominent Israeli architect and a participant in the Israel Design Week. 'This event reflects the improvement of Israeli design and narrows the distance between us, architects and designers, and the public.'
Kedem and the work of 30 more major architects and designers formed the core element of Israel Design Week. Their public lectures – taking place at various Tel Aviv bars – were considered by many the highlight of the design week and drew lots of attention.
Other events were spread across various venues, in a concept similar to Salone del Mobile's Trunk Show in Milan – artists presented work in fashion and design stores, there was an architecture conference, a design show comprising 180 design and construction companies of various scales, cocktails, parties and a show fusing fashion and design.
All were offered free of charge, attracting some 30,000 people – an impressive 30 per cent more than what the organisers initially expected. 'We intend to turn Israel Design Week into tradition,' summarise Rolls. 'Next year it will take place in Jerusalem and other major cities and will practically include the whole country.'