In a world where creatives are coming up with their own take on the new UK passport in response to Brexit, life vests are reimagined as backpacks to help tackle the Syrian refugee crisis, and art in all forms is being created to comment on the current US president, sociopolitics and design inevitably become intertwined. Over eight days this year, Jerusalem Design Week showed that these two spheres can indeed overlap.
Israel is a country filled with contrasts. Unlike the city of Tel Aviv, which is constantly looking to the future, Jerusalem could be seen as having been more focused on the past. Six years ago, however, when the Jerusalem Development Authority and Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage decided to sponsor a design week, the capital was given a unique and very exciting opportunity. ‘We wanted to show another side to the city and bring as many people as possible to experience Jerusalem as we see it,’ said Ran Wolf, managing director of Jerusalem Design Week. ‘Contrary to popular belief, Jerusalem is a leading city in design and creativity. Jerusalem is full of young and creative people.’
The theme of 2017’s Jerusalem Design Week was ‘Islands’. In an attempt to address the complex issues surrounding multiple cultural and religious groups within the city, artists set out to breach borders and redefine the current barriers within their metropolis and around the world. These are five of our highlights from the show.
A collaboration between Israeli designer Rami Tareef and Netherlands-based designer Maurizio Montalti, the ‘S(e)AMELESS’ installation defies ‘political leaders who preach division’. It consists of a wall built from mycelium brick and overgrown with mushrooms, and visitors were encouraged to come together and harvest the fungi – metaphorically and figuratively destroying the symbol of separation.
‘Borderline’ is a custom-made machine by UK-based designer Marlène Huissoud and Israeli designer Erez Nevi Pana that creates and burns candles at the same time. Yarn the same length as contentious borders around the globe is dipped in black wax and then coiled into large candles, only to be symbolically burnt away. One of these candles was representative of the West Bank Barrier.
After spending years collecting raw materials from across Israel, Shenkar College industrial design graduates Avior Zada and Eliad Michli presented ‘Even Yesod’, their ‘bank of knowledge’ at Jerusalem Design Week 2017. Following studies relating to the casting and moulding properties of various materials, the duo have made the information available to other designers for use in their work.
The Graphic Island
Exploring the boundaries between print and digital media, ‘The Graphic Island’ was set up for the eight days of the festival in a room at the former Bezeq Telephone exchange building. The installation took shape as a fully functional news desk guarded by a giant clock. Here, industry folk came together to create a daily publication, projecting the process onto walls for all to see.
To bring attention to the border that exists between ourselves and our environment, Israel-based ceramic artist Johnathan Hopp and Danish designer Peter Ørntoft created a utopian piece that resembles Larsen C, an iceberg roughly the size of the West Bank that is slowly detaching itself from Antarctica and could have serious environmental effects if not disrupted.
Visit jdw.co.il for more information.