Out Of The Box Design - Made In Israel

Belgrade Design Week 2014 produced the “Out of the Box” exhibition by Design Museum Holon with support by the Israeli Embassy in Serbia. The exhibition describes, through common objects, the way in which Israeli designers cope with the passion to create in the face of the necessity to exist. Survival, as is commonly stated, is the mother of all inventions. It seems that in the fields of design, the artists are required to do even more. They are required to think out of the box, to develop a unique point of view, a fresh and unexpected way to observe problems, as well as construct solutions. In this world, designers are expected to excel, and be responsible, to take an advanced social and ecological position. How do they operate, what drives them, and how may we learn from them about the thinking processes and innovations that are the hallmark of design in Israel.

“We are not known for famous cathedrals, or our material culture”, write Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger in their new book Jews and Words, “Jewish continuity has always hinged on the uttered and written word, on an expanding maze of interpretation, debates, and disagreements, love and casted doubt.” It seems that the link between the creative process, human innovation and a thousand years old textual transition, has never been so well articulated.

“The best kept secret” - this is what Prod. Mel Byars called Israeli design approximately a decade ago, when he wrote the first extensive book to survey the fields of Israeli design between the nineties and the beginning of the 21st century.

Does Israeli design exist? The general answer would be no. Not Israeli, rather a design made in Israel; made in this emotionally stressful environment, in an amalgamation of cultural, familial humanism, and mainly the passion to create ex-nihilo. 

In this exhibition, called “Out of the Box“ visitors had opportunity to enjoy the work of a group of artists who, each in his own way, express a thinking process taking place outside the box. Some express, in their work, an innovative technological thinking, some do it through forms or material, and others through a re-reading of us, the users. Asked all of them about the profession they have chosen, which sometimes seems like a bit of everything, but when brought together they make possible a creation that is larger than the sum of its parts. 

The designer, who is a cultural generalist, a polymath, is rewarded by his ability to observe and question, listen and doubt, feel and wonder - is there not a better, more interesting, or smarter way to do this next time. A major part of this exhibition is composed of several creative works that show an'alliance of contradictions' based on the need to connect between theory and practice, technology and user, physical need and emotional experience or sustainability and industrial production.