ראיון במגזין העיצוב ARQA
לפני מספר שבועות פנתה אלינו כתבת העיצוב קרלה קרבון (Carla Carbone) לראיון בהתכתבות למגזין העיצוב והאדריכלות הפורטוגלי ARQUA.
הכתבה נכתבה בפורטוגזית, אבל להלן הראיון באנגלית שעליו היא התבססה. תהנו:)
Your studio have an imagery that is quite related to illustration. In what sense is illustration important in your work?
We came do design products from a non conventional background: Adi Azar from visual communication and graphic design, Yotam Shifroni from stage and interior design.
While keeping up to date with the latest design styles and strategies, we do not solely rely on the standard techniques and tools available to the classic designer. Sometimes we prefer to depend on logic and self-study inside and outside of the studio.
The illustrated elements help us to precise the story we're telling and the narrative dimension finds its way to the products each time anew. We like to think of the products to be a bit theatric and humorous so they can act as knobs (name of the studio is knob); maybe small, but fine-tune the whole space.
What were your background studies, where did you both study?
We met in summertime of 2008, on the set for a short movie film of a mutual friend, there was created the bond of StudioKnob. By that time Adi graduated from Shenkar college of engineering and design, visual design department and Yotam started the program of interior design in Holon Institute of Technology (HIT). The connection instrumentally developed to a personal and professional deep relation. Since then we are practicing the dance of togetherness and intimacy.
How did you come with the idea of reusing broken legs for clocks?
Our studio is located at the center of Jaffa, one of our goals is to integrate the local experience into our home decor commodities. Jaffa is one of Israel's oldest cities. Rich and poor, Muslims, Christens and Jews live in it together since 1440 BC. During the last decade it's going under the process of massive urban renewal. The municipality and the developers put a great effort into keeping the authentic characteristics of this city; constant dialog between the old and the new is standing at the core of its transformation.
The Jaffa Clocks first collection is made of reclaimed broken furniture legs, found at the dustbins of our local flea market. Due to the handmade "wabi-sabi" nature of this product, we left some cracks and imperfection in the wood as part of the design. The geometric paintwork in contrast, is fine and contemporary. For each clock we combined few different legs and then divided each combination across its length section into two “twin” clocks.In the self assembly kit (DIY Can Lamp), you used an assemblage of acrilic, light bulbs, cables, switches, etc… Does the Can is resused?
How did you come accross with the idea of a lamp with an acrilic leg? Are the cans really recycled?
Yes, all the cans are reused (upcycled, repurposed). It is mostly from the brand http://www.mutti-parma.com/en/ that we use for pasta – maybe they will want to sponsor us 🙂
In the last couple of years we have been working on our LAYERED collection: series of light objects that use layers of material to create an illusion of distance and depth.
In the last collection we used acrylic glass for the layers (PICS FOLDER "LAYERED") so we got to master different techniques and usage for acrylic glass (plexiglass); cutouts, geometric tendon, etc.
The material is amazing: strong, easy to clean and maintain, and allow us to add some drama to the edges of the work (instead of using a frame). The only problem with it are the leftovers, so we developing small product that can maximize the usage of the acrylic boards, as the DIY Can Lamp, or our brooches and hair pins.
We also learned that the lucid transparency of the acrylic works wonderful with the roughness of the readymade, balance it with sense of prestige and glamour. Our latest project is collaboration with the Israeli designer Amir rave we investigate even further the combination of old found material with acrylic glass. We will reveal this project in "Fresh Paint" art and design fair next month in TLV.
Your work is fundamentally an atempt to reuse things, or recycle things. recycling is your main preocuppation? your most important project?
This is part of an ongoing experiment of improvisation with abandoned and forgotten objects that we find in warehouses, streets and flea markets. This hands-on exploration with local materials has served us also to develop an academic course and a couple of workshops we teach about the symbiotic relationship\reciprocity between improvisation and high-end design.
We enjoy working in the spirit of bricolage, which Claude Levi Strauss defined in his book "The Science of the Concrete" as "the infinite, improvisational recombination of a fixed series of elements by the designer improviser with tools not intended originally for the purpose in front of him”.
The materials, the tools and the work process guide the design and set its mark on the final product. This enables us to show the beauty and sophistication of the design solutions and reveals a new narrative for the original objects.
Why do you chase that concept of recycling and re-using?
Working with available materials is like a puzzle to be solved through art and design.
The resulting design is the outcome of a long and complex evolution of thought. The process of transformation is very important part for us – it is what allows us to tell a story through our creations, and it allows us to learn.
However, being green was not our only intention. Recycling is a side-effect, it’s only a consequence of our work philosophy. Our eco-friendly design process as a way to learn about our work. We see this aspect of our work as educational for both us and the people around us. We end up learning about the different ways that materials can be used and the different stories hidden in them. We love letting the mechanism\code to be exposed – as open source. Give people the opportunity to learn from it and play with it and make them feel more personal, hence interact with the objects in deeper level not only as passive users.
Where do you find the old furniture? do you take them next to the dustbin? or do you go to old furniture houses?
Collection abandoned and forgotten objects that we find in warehouses, streets, dustbins and flea markets was the starting points. Also clients who saw our works started to send us object with personal significant for us to work with as commotion works. This is how the "Shoe trophies" coatracks series been born for example, a client gave us her son's soccer shoes and asked us to reuse it. This project was collaboration with Israeli artist Gidi Gilam.
After years of collecting we learned to identify better the potentials within the found objects and not collect everything (although the urge still exist:) . Eventually our studio it's also our living space so we must be very picky to keep only what driven us to create/action. The further steps are more professional, to reclaim the inspirations into original work. The sentimental value of the connection with the client direct us to understand what's the object aspire to be in his next life.
It's interesting for us to imagine the reaction of future archeologists to our products, as if they would find them accidently in the next century. What new other usage can be for it in the future?
What does it mean an Israel design? can we talk of an Israeli design language? style?
In Israel we love to improvise, this is the advantage and disadvantage of what's happening in here: the use of ready-made and improvisation. On the one hand, the reason for that is clear, and it's related to a lack of budgets. There are almost no organizations today in Israel that nurture the field of design, and there are few entrepreneurs and factories that hire designers and reward them with full cooperation over the long term. Improvisation and lack of finish can be found in many Israeli cultural sectors beside design as architecture (the Brutalism movement), art (Arte Povera, Want of Matter), and of course in politics 🙂
Farther then, Israel is an multicultural country, with strong influences from both east and west. So the style is very eclectic, like a Quilt patched together.
What does the sunflower seeds symbolize in Israel? Is it an environmental issue?
The inspiration came to us during the FIFA World Cup season. Part of the experience, culture and ritual of watching soccer in Israel, is eating sunflower seeds. After the games we would wander around outside, go to pubs, visit friends and see piles upon piles of sunflower seed shells. We decided to collect them (metaphorically) from the streets and garbage cans and turn them into something that brings tenderness into the home. Also the seed it's a trigger for growth, our studio\home is full with sprouting avocado seeds and green plants.