Ron Arad was born in Tel Aviv in 1951 and studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Art (1971-73 and at the Architectural Association in London (1974-79). In 1989, he and Caroline Thorman founded 'Ron Arad Associates'. He was professor of Design at the Hochschule in Vienna from 1994 to 1997. His work has been widely featured in books, magazine articles, professional jounals, and press world-wide. Ron Arad has exhibited at many major museums and galleries throughout the world and his work is in many public collections including, among others, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y; Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Vitra Design Museum, Germany.
Ron Arad designs for many leading companies including among others Kartell, Vitra, Moroso, Fiam, Driade, Alessi, Flos. Architectural projects include: Maserati Headquarters Showroom in Italy, the Living room and family dining room for Sheikh Saud Al-Thani’s Villa in Qatar, the Selfridges Technology Hall in London, the Tel Aviv Opera Foyer in Israel, the Belgo Noord and Belgo Centraal restaurants in London. Gallery and exhibition designs, include ‘Winning: The Design of Sports’ for the Glasgow 1999 UK City of Architecture and Design and currently the exhibition enclosure for Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar.
Not Made by Hand Not Made in China (2000) Rapid prototyping (RP) is still used mostly when a product is close to the market. Designers are often no longer involved at the prototyping stage and there has been a move away from the 'handmade' craft base towards industrial processes geared to mass production. This work investigated the potential for RP as the designer's tool, restoring the physical approach to the object. (Exhibited Galleria Gio Marconi, Milan, Italy 3-10 April 2000.
WindWand and Big Blue (1999), Westferry Circus, Canary Wharf, Canada Square, London. Windward: 50m tall tapering sculpture designed to sway in the wind. Big Blue: roof sculpture, 20m in diameter. Both display structural ingenuity, stretching materials and structures to their limits. The swaying in the wind of WindWand forced the engineer to work in a different way to the usual. Rather than being constructed on the site like a building, Big Blue exploited product manufacturing techniques - the whole project was made in a one piece mould, as if it were much smaller and then shipped to the site.
Bookworm (1996). Bookshelf made from plastic. The best selling product of leading Italian manufacturer, Kartell. The Bookworm is an example of a limited edition piece developed in a different material for mass production. Originally produced as a result of experiments with tempered steel.
Speculation to production
Projects which have a new production idea as a starting point followed by industrialisation. Some have completed the cycle to production and distribution some remain at the development stage. Thin folding chair – is an impossibly thin, one block injection moulded chair that gets its strength form its geometry rather than the material. Shell chair is a chair than can stack one on top of another or sideways, for use in auditoriums. The morphology of the chairs allows for a reduction in the amount of material used.
A series of projects exploring and implementing the potential of ‘pixels’ in surfaces, volumes and light. Wonderwall is a proposal for Manchester Stadium 3.5 x 1.5 m and 10 metres tall made of 600 dynamic computer controlled piston pixels that can respond to movement as slight as a gust of wind or competition activity in the stadium. A programmable floor in the villa currently under construction for Sheik al Thani of Qatar, can remain static, modelled to form a variety of different ‘landscapes’ or be continually moving.
A collection of furniture developed and perfected digitally through computers and 5-axis milling machines. Models are made in foam and tested and the design stage completed before the final objects are made in lightweight composite material, a Nomex honeycomb structural core sandwiched between cured carbon fibre fabrics.