Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design Jerusalem to Exhibit in Milan Design Week

Arthur Brutter - Earthquake protecting desk. A classroom desk designed to serve as a shelter from earthquakes. Designed with the assistance of The Israeli National Rescue and Civil Defense/Photography: Oded Antman

Thinking Hands,” an exhibit of designs by Bezalel students will be on show at the new, avant-garde Ventura Lambrate District during Milan Salone Internazionale del Mobile (also known as Milan Design Week), the largest design fair in the world, which takes place in Milan, Italy, from April 12 to 17 this year.

Tal Frenkel Alroy – Pearless. Another take on a classic status symbol – the pearl necklace/Photography: Ana Morin

Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design was chosen to showcase 45 designs from 37 under-graduate and post-graduate students, alongside work from the Royal College of Art in London, the School of Art and Design in Lodz, Poland, and the Academy of Art Maastricht in The Netherlands, among others – 16 in total. The exhibit represents a cross-section of Bezalel’s B.Des and M.Des graduates over the last two years. The works were originally displayed at the final exhibitions of both programs – something to keep in mind when end-of-the-year exhibits come around.

Koby Sibony – Wire Frames. A radio assembled from plastic scraps and a wire frame/Photography: Oded Antman

“The philosophical background of the theme of the exhibition, ‘Thinking Hands’, comes from the new integrations and combinations possibilities in design today, enabled by the post-industrial radical change,” says Prof Ezri Tarazi, head of the Master of Design program. “Bezalel is a cutting-edge laboratory of design in which students explore and experiment with the unconventional and unordinary in design today, and Milan is the best place to expose the Bezalel scene.”

Ori Yekutiel – LightStone. Stone - foam experiments. Patent pending technology/Photography: Oded Antman

The images speak for themselves, conveying the creativity and sense of experimentation and exploration in these designs. The curators’ text below, indicates the concepts underlying the planning and organization of the exhibit:

“Thinking Hands” relates to a certain thought process that takes place between the hand and the brain, nurturing itself with feedback in a circular manner. During the creation process, a reverberation takes place that is a reflection of the corrected or disturbed action during the process. This process of thinking by doing, contradicts classic methodologies of pre-planning and then moving on to strict execution according to the plan.
As seen in our graduates’ projects here, today’s designers apply design as a manner of expression; they use it to formulate a personal perception, examine their identity, define new needs and challenge the classic industrial design process. Through these projects we can observe also the resources issues that contemporary design is dealing with. Resources such as: material, time, capabilities and traditional characteristics that are transferred from one culture to another, absorbed and changed.  Today’s contemporary design examines anew its place in the developing cultural experience. This is a new chapter in our industry that stands between the manufactured product and the one-off a kind object.

The main theme of the exhibit is the concept of “Thinking Hands”. This concept of “thinking by doing” is expresses in four hands. Hands that are thinking, searching, exposing and creating are becoming the main player. 

Nir Shalom – Amigo. Custom wheelchair for disabled dogs/Photography: Oded Antman

These four sub-themes are:

The Exposing Hand:
Floods us with questions about new-old needs; those pre-historic, animalistic, instinctive needs (of the object and of man). The hand exposes the material, the past, inner organs, routines, and desires. It allows us to put rationale aside and concentrate on inner desires- the physical and emotional ones, and to make room for the mystical and spiritual thought from within this exposure.

The Unifying Hand:
The Unifying Hand was born from the critical observation of what humanity has created through its continual striving for beauty, enormity, newness, and perfection. Our bruises and scars as a society have given birth to a hand that is full of compassion for time and for faults; a hand that is a patient creator; a healing, loving hand with compassion towards man and object.

Sonnenschein Ori – Solskin peels. Citrus fruit peels as tableware using experimental microwave technology/Photography: Oded Antman

The Enchanting Hand:
This hand is driven by a conscious search for the local, accessible and responsibly useable. It exposes resources – new quarries hidden in available remnants: old bags become skin, and fruit peels become pottery. The production process is based on domestic constancy, known or new. The Enchanted Hand is the alchemy of combining old and new materials and giving them new meanings. 

The Mischievous Hand:
A Mischievous Hand that knows and well recognizes production processes, creating disturbances in the order of the process. This hand places a proverbial stick in the machine, disturbing its smooth running, stretching the machine’s boundaries and the boundaries of the material. This is the hand that creates “craft” from a new variety endowed with a new language of design, by way of disrupting the old and familiar system.

Noa Habas – Duo, Sensing time. A braille wristwatch for the blind.

Bezalel’s curatorial team comprises Haim Parnas, Prof. Ezri Tarazi, head of Bezalel’s Master of Design (M.Des) program, Ilanit Kabessa Cohen, academic coordinator of the M.Des program, and Liora Rosin, a recent Master of Design (M.Des) graduate of Bezalel’s Industrial Design department. The exhibition design team includes Rosin and Nitsan Debbi, another recent M.Des graduate.

Opening hours
Press Preview: Monday April 11, 15:00 – 20:00
General Opening Hours: Tuesday April 12 – Sunday April 17, 10:00 – 20:00
Ventura Lambrate Opening Night: Wednesday April 13, 19:00 – 23:00

Ventura Lambrate
Collective Location
Via Massimiano 6, 20134 Milan, Italy