Designing the new Holon
Born as an initiative from the mayor of Holon, Mr. Moti Sasson, the Design Museum has converted the city into a cultural hub fostering pioneering design from Israel and all over the world.
Inaugurated in 2010 and designed by the Israeli architect Ron Arad, the building has gained acclaim and recognition throughout the globe turning it into a symbol of Israeli architecture. Located in the Eastern part of the new culture area beside the Holon Institute of Technology, Design Museum Holon spreads in 3200 m2. “The museum invites you to walk in without having to go through a gate or conventional entrance, (…) and it is surrounded by a shell that gives its signature” declared Mr. Ron during our conversation. The construction is a work of art by itself, and unlike many Western buildings it has “not a single column” making it resemble a Möbius strip that gives its unique appearance. Visitors find themselves engulfed by the steel structure, the only contact they have with the outside world is through the sky above. From the very beginning, the passenger is imbued in an ecosystem where design is omnipresent: industrial design, fashion, architecture and even jewellery all are gathered in a space.
Furthermore, the institution’s ambitious programme prioritise the development of design at a local scale highlighting design’s significance in the construction of a national identity. Indeed, design is expected to become a main export industry of the country, and the city of Holon is the laboratory where the operation has been taking place over the last years. The curatorial strategy corroborates the historic discourse behind the institution as the first “continuum” or section comprises design pieces made between the 1930’s until the 20th century in Israel.
The institution’s ambitious programme prioritise the development of design at a local scale highlighting design’s significance in the construction of a national identity.
On the other hand, the second continuum devoted to contemporary creations gives the audience a global overview of design’s development not only in Israel but around the world. This initiative places the museum in the international scene exhibiting the work of renowned designers such as Jaime Hayon or the designs by the Japanese studio Nendo. Additionally, the museum is a platform for local and young creators as every year the collection is broadened with a selection of graduate works by students from the Israeli design academies. Although the discipline is subjected to a greater plan, the museum is genuinely committed to leading the way by innovating and exploring every aspect of the discipline. Via the collection, the audience is invited to learn and understand the technological changes and tendencies in the world of design. The current exhibition Sound and Matter in Design is testimony to this interest in exploring and breaking paradigms. The show investigates the way design has been shaping sound through the construction of objects such as sound systems. Uniting matter and sound, it examines spaces, environments and objects.
Nevertheless, industrial design is not the only area considered, fashion and jewelry participate in the museum’s life and a number of exhibitions have been dedicated to them. In 2012 a show was devoted to the Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto and later on, in 2015 a solo exhibition of Iris Van Herpen’s work took place in the museum. Both are tutelar figures in the fashion industry and their approach is extremely forward-looking. While Van Herper is inspired by technology and 3D printing, Yamamoto’s designs challenge gender roles and give to women’s body an “abnormal” shape, sometimes considered as masculine. As for jewelry, the creations of Dana Hakim Bercovich were the subject of the exposition Through the Mesh, where she transformed useless materials into jewels. Through this process she gave a second life to garbage, a poetic process reminiscent of Duchamp’s ready-made.
Faithful to their original purpose, the museum’s educational activities raise awareness on design’s importance in the city’s life. The rich program as well as their partnership with international institutions such as the Design Museum in London makes it a museum engaged in the local and global design scene. With a prime investment of 17 million dollars, the museum is helping to the establishment of Holon as a cosmopolitan city.
Contemporary Israeli artist Sigalit Landau explores Judaic symbols and Israel’s history. Via her artistic practice, the audience understands and is instructed on the current state of mind of the artistic ecosystem.