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A 'Domain' of Israeli Design
A contemporary Israeli design exhibition is being held in the New International Expo Center in Pudong.

The exhibition, entitled "Domain", includes over 70 pieces of works by 10 designers. These works, with their original concepts, unique and diversified styles, define Israeli designing as a mixture of cultures like "salad" instead of "soup".

"Israelis are from all over the world," said the curator of the exhibition, Nirith Nelson. "When they reclaimed their land in Israel, they brought with them the culture and influence from where they used to live."

Many designers were born in other countries or working with overseas companies.

A series of chairs designed by Yaacov Kaufman refers back to the original natural stool -- the tree trunk, and attempts to send it on a different evolutionary path. Almost untouched, the stools are shaped by a minimal, elegant gesture: one cutting movement, or the addition of a single joint, is all the artist deploys to create his natural folding chair.

The only designer to appear at the opening, Tal Gur, brought a series of plastic lamps. In his "Simple Gestures" series, the designer played with his previous works, distorting or dissecting existing product fragments, cutting them into cross-sections and incorporating simple, child-like sketches into the plastic surface.

The latter works were inspired by an Israeli verse teaching children to draw human face using Hebrew vowel marks for eyes, mouth and ears.

A staircase by a very young designer Hagai Harduff attracted a lot of attention from viewers and local media. The staircase requires no support and comes with its own backbone, a backbone that grows as the stairs are assembled.

The stairs suggest mountain climbing right inside one's living quarters. The shape of the stairs imitates the act of climbing, where each leg rests on separate steps. They defy the usual staircase concept by actually dropping the frame and leaving only the elements essential to foot support.

Other works include a lamp structure with frames of umbrellas, vases made from metal tubes, each cut in a different place or manner to create a unique opening, and tables with the surface breaking into an interesting shape, supporting anything lying on it.

Among the designers is one woman, who presents a folding room. The work is shown via DVD, in which the artist creates a single-person environment with chairs, tables, windows, and so on, folding into a nearly flat sheet. It offers a refreshingly playful look at the problem of space as it is experienced by the individuals in the transitory residency of the modern age.

(Shanghai Star March 28, 2003)

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