Newsletter 07.2010

Dear Readers

Israel is home to a young, but cogent creative scene. Architonic spoke to both its established representatives and new talent about the meaning of Israeli design and where it's heading.

It's not only upward mobility and the "easy-to-assemble" culture that it's brought with it, but also the trend for comprehensible construction that's led to a series of exciting, constructive solutions in the field of furniture design. We'd like to offer you a few particular examples. 

The touring exhibition "Richard Neutra in Europe -  Buildings and Projects 1960-1970" presents the work of the Vienna-born American architect, who, with his numerous houses for high-end clients, brought a slice of modernism back to the old continent. 

Let yourself be inspired!
Your Architonic Team

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Design Israel
With its current design scene set to grow even further, Architonic talks to a number of established and emerging designers, curators and educators about the significance of Israeli design and where it's heading.
    Design Israel  
Detail of the Design Museum Holon, designed by Ron Arad; photo Yael Pincus

Israel. It's fair to say that the mere mention of the country can often evoke a strong response in people, whatever their political persuasion. One thing the world isn't short of is opinions on the state of affairs in the eastern Mediterranean. What is in short supply, it often seems (and regardless of your take on the situation), is the real possibility of change in the region, which might bring about a viable, long-term political stability.
If we view design in terms of a constructive force, one that works to improve our lives, even on the most prosaic of levels, one that effects change, then the recent emergence of a convincing Israeli design scene - both in terms of designers practising at home and those working abroad - is a welcome development. With the small, but striking, Ron Arad-designed Design Museum Holon opening its doors a couple of months ago, signalling to local and international audiences alike Israel's serious engagement with design, there's never been a better time to look at how the Israeli creative community is putting their country on the global design map.

'Naked Louis 900' lamps by Reddish

'The museum is the biggest and most prominent object in our collection,' explains Galit Gaon, creative director of the Design Museum Holon, with obvious pride. If there's one thing that signposts the arrival of a true contemporary design culture in Israel, it's this building, at once a space for showing design, and, as Galit points out, a compelling design piece in itself. British-based Arad, probably the best-known designer in recent times to come out of Israel, and whose renown was recently confirmed by a retrospective of his work at London's Barbican Gallery, has created a building whose distinctive, lyrical form sets up the promise of great things inside. Or as Galit puts it: 'The museum is all about design, about experience, about relationships, so it has all the values of a very good museum even before you enter the exhibition.'

'West Bank Barrier' from Ron From's 'Goods from Israel' chocolate collection
Fancy a Joint?: innovative joinery in new furniture design
Screws? Glue? Who needs them? With a number of designers developing intriguing new ways of constructing furniture, Architonic takes a look at some examples of recent innovative joinery methods.
    Fancy a Joint?: innovative joinery in new furniture design  
'Workshop Chair' by Jerszy Seymour, which uses polycaprolactone wax to join the piece's various components together

There was a time when virtuosity in furniture design reigned supreme. In the history of cabinet-making and working in wood generally, an object's value has often been determined by, among other things, the way its constituent elements have come together. The more integrated and streamlined the joint - for example, the traditional dovetail joint - the greater the perceived level of workmanship. It was all about seamless unity.
Exhibition: Richard Neutra in Europe (1960-1970)
A new prominent capital of European architectural history becomes unrolled
    Exhibition: Richard Neutra in Europe (1960-1970)  
Richard Neutra Haus Rentsch, 1964 © Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA

Between 1960 and 1970, so in just ten years, the American architect Richard Neutra (*1892 in Vienna, †1970 in Wuppertal) had eight villas constructed in Europe; four in Switzerland (one of which was the only one to be built without a flat roof), three in Germany and one in France. Neutra worked for clients as prominent as the "Der Zeit" publisher Gerd Bucerius, as well as for business personalities (Fritz Rentsch) and scientists (Prof. Dr. Martin Rang), and also for his former colleague's husband (Marcel Delcourt). Subsequently, two housing developments for the German bewobau came into the picture, one in Walldorf, near Frankfurt, and one in Quickborn, near Hamburg.

Casa Ebelin Bucerius, Brione sopra Minusio, Switzerland (1962-66), main entrance, photo: Alberto Flammer, Locarno © Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA

Large, custom-built models, specifically for display purposes and of all of Richard Neutra's ten buildings, are flanked by large-spread photographs and a wealth of plans, drawings, historical photographs and further documents from the estate in Los Angeles in order to bring to light a new and important chapter in European architectural history. With the Austrian-born Richard Neutra, a pupil of Adolf Loos, the modern age took a turn back to Europe and formed the basis of a series of almost iconic pictures of an architectonic "American way of life" here. In Switzerland after 1945, as well as in West Germany during the post-war period, Richard Neutra assumed a central role in European building work, even if he was still referred to as "famous amongst connoisseurs" (Manfred Sack) in 1994.

New Projects from 'Architecture & Design'
Rajiv Saini & Associates
  New Projects from 'Architecture & Design'  
House in Hyderabad
C+S Associati
Ponzano Primary, photo by Alessandra Bello

Estudio Ramos
Las Lomas House, photo by Eduardo Torres

Elding Oscarson
Townhouse, photo by Åke E:son Lindman

Richemont China Headquarter + Richemont Offices
Richemont China Headquarter + Richemont Offices, photo by Charlie Xia
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DMY 2010: Architonic reports from the Berlin design festival
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Medium Rare: Architonic at Design Miami Basel 2010

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