Industrial designers Yotam Shifroni and Adi Azar are masters of detail, whether they’re carving an image of singer Svika Pik into an acrylic light fixture or creating tabletop rocking horses.
Now their creations will be exhibited in “Very Mature,” at Holon’s Hava Gallery, February 19 through May 31, as part of the Holon Design Season. But don’t expect to see the Svika Pick image; it was purchased by his son-in-law, Quentin Tarantino.
The exhibit, a clever collection of works including light fixtures, upcycled musical instruments and repurposed furniture and accessories, is about seeing objects through younger eyes — getting adults to put aside their practical calculations and play a little.
It feels like an arrival for this pair who have lived and worked together for more than a decade, producing a range of quirky, useful household objects, as well as a toddler daughter, Nina.
They create out of their home studio in the centrally located suburban town of Shoham, where Azar grew up but far from Shifroni’s childhood home in a kibbutz bordering Gaza.
The walls of their living room, studio and bedrooms are filled with their creations, serving as reminders of what worked and providing inspiration for the future.
The pair of product designers, who have backgrounds in visual communication and interior design, call themselves Studio Knob — for the small features that can change an entire product.
Each Studio Knob project turns on a minor attribute, whether it’s their $1,100 click light, a white rope with magnetic ends that “clicks” and attaches itself magnetically to a metal shelf, lighting up the rope, or the famous Svika Pick “Show Must Go On” fixture.
That light fixture, a carved piece of acrylic glass that features Pick’s face and shoulder-length hair, was commissioned by a curator for a group exhibit devoted to Pick as part of the 2017 Israeli Design Season in Holon.
The exhibit explored Pick’s rise to fame, and included items from his personal collection, including costumes, family photos, records, awards, and Shifroni and Azar’s light fixture.
The two were intrigued by Pick, a pop musician with an outsider image who experienced a tough professional period in the 1980s.
“He performed for tiny audiences and used to bring in his own equipment in the late afternoon, so that no one would see he didn’t have the money to pay for a crew,” said Azar.
“That’s the story we wanted to tell,” said Shifroni.
At the exhibit, their work was the only one sold, said Azar.
“The curator called us and said, it’s been sold to Tarantino and Daniella Pick, is that okay?'” said Azar, laughing.
Their method of carving an image in Perspex, otherwise known as acrylic glass, began for Shifroni during his design studies when he was in Barcelona for a school trip and was inspired by the city’s skyline and dusky light to create a paper cut of the image.
“He has a romance with paper,” said Azar.
“I always tell my students to take out paper and retractable blade if we’re not doing something else,” said Shifroni, who teaches at Shenkar.
Eventually, after creating a series of papercuts, they realized they could do the same with acrylic, a harder, more durable — and also more unforgiving — material that could be carved and used as the cover of a light fixture, or as a decorative window.
They’ve since etched all kinds of scenes, including Shifroni’s childhood kibbutz, a street in Jaffa, a beach scene commissioned for a surfer girl, and a dog doing his business on a street corner, as well as carved elevator ceilings and windows.
What they love about their light fixtures are the little details, or as Azar puts it, “the small switch that affects the whole process.”
They prefer to defy definition, calling themselves designers who do industrial design, said Azar, who teaches at a local anthroposophic school.
According to their own descriptions, Shifroni tends to be the dreamer while Azar has the marketing sense.
“I know how to bring ideas to life,” she sad. “I know when it’s not interesting enough, or too complicated. I’ve got my feet on the ground and I know you can’t do everything and it won’t all come out in a way that can be shown to audiences.”
“She knows how to communicate the ideas,” said Shifroni.
This season, Studio Knob’s ideas are on display at the Hava Gallery, an unexpectedly pastoral corner of Holon, 1 Hanehoshet Street at the corner of Hamelacha Street. Wednesday and Thursday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Shabbat, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Free entry.
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