Mia Melange | Even A Basket Can Be Multicultural | May 24.17

  • Once I decided that I should only only own black and white accessories and when it comes to my home, life became much simpler. But then, to my surprise, all of my fave Israeli designers began designing black and white items, and life got a lot more complicated!
    While in Israel, I added a few items to my ever growing monochromatic collection (but more on that later this week) and I only wish I spotted any of Mia Danieli’s aka Mia Melange baskets, while there. These baskets have my name written all over them!
    “The baskets are made from 100% cotton rope and sewn together in a coiling technique. These unique hand crafted vessels provide a modern twist on the ancient African tradition of basket weaving.”
    It definitely shows that Mia, an Israeli, who now resides in South Africa, knows a thing or two about being multicultural. These baskets are a melting pot of Israeli roots, South African tradition and a Swiss bloodline. Yep, the minimalistic touch had to come from somewhere.
    Fun fact: “Mélange” means mixture (or blend) in French. It’s also a type of yarn that is commonly used in the textile and fashion industries.
    If you are more into the colorful side of things, don’t you worry. Mia has you covered! There are lots of green options for all you green thumb people. You can also find sand-ish colored ones. Oh and BTW, each item is carefully designed and no two are exactly alike. That alone makes me want one even more!

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Adi Nissani | Plateful Soul | May 16.17

  • Hello, my sweet breakers!
    It’s been six months since my last post. By now, I’m not even sure if any of you are even out there… BUT, after thinking about the things I love most in my life, DesignBreak and the Israeli design scene, are way up on that list and so, I decided to get back into blogging. Or at least, do a better job at my blogging in the the last three years or so (but who’s counting? me, I guess).
    I have a feeling the my recent trip to Israel (you can see a glimpse over here ), after being away for two years, had something to do with my decision. It’s just that I can’t not share with you all me fave designers and their rad creations. I just can’t do that!
    Anyways, let’s go back to what’s really important in life. I’m talking about: dreamy ceramics, fancy textiles, a beautiful piece of furniture and accessories. Lots of them. But first, ceramics and handmade plates in particular, because… Adi Nissani!
    I’ve been following Adi Nissani’s messy (in the best way possible!) journey for the longest time. I mean, how can you forget her brilliant instagram dishes?!
    On one of my daily IG scrolls, I bumped into a picture perfect photograph of this beautiful plate and I had to find out more about it. Of course Adi’s artistic fingertips had everything to do with it. She collaborated with Osem (one of Israel’s largest food empires) to showcase some of her brand new plates.
    “In my work I am inspired by nature and aesthetics. I merge classic and organic designs into my dishes while putting an emphasis on fine cuisine.”
    In the last couple of years Adi has been working mainly with chefs and she has been developing collections of handmade dishes that are custom made especially for their restaurants needs. So you see, Adi is no stranger to foodie concepts. This time she teamed up with Ronen Mangan (the photographer) and Rotem Nir (the stylist), in order to create an enchanting story that involves eye candy plates and oh-so-delicious Israeli made treats. Something tells me that I probably miss Israeli treats more than I’m willing to admit, but let’s just leave it at that and stare at Adi’s beauties.

{Photos by Ronen Mangan}

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The Morning After | Folded Journey | November 17.16

  • When you finish super intense four years as a jewelry design student, you are not too sure what the morning after will be like.
    Everyone asks, what’s next? Where will you go from here? For many, the answer isn’t clear at first, but for Shiran Sahshua, there was only one answer. That’s when The Morning After came to life!
    From the get go, Shiran realized that combining metal with unconventional materials, is what challenges and intrigues her the most.
    In her first collection, Split Ends, Shiran was inspired by maps, latitude and longitude, compasses, arrows and signs. At that point she also realized that paper is the only acceptable material.
    I must admit that these white folded papers made my heart skip a beat. As you all know by now, paper is my weakness in all shape or form. From stationary to jewelry to wrapping paper. I have them all forms and in stocks. The only question is, which of these Split Ends will end up in my possession.

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Gily Ilan | Wearable Art | October 17.16

  • When a ceramist decides, that she needs to follow her own heart, and combine her love for textile with her ceramic roots, you can bet only good things will come out of that juxtapose. Gily Ilan, is the girl, who isn’t afraid to dance in between these two worlds. “My love and curiosity for all sorts of materials has helped me shape my design esthetics, thus creating a line of artisan style necklaces and scarves, that are both sophisticated and practical.”
    Choosing the right fabrics and knitting on one hand and creating beautiful magnetic porcelain (!!!) clasps on the other, the end result is a pure stunner.
    While going through Gily’s latest creations, all I could think was: “I wish I could find a way to have all these stunning scarves for myself!” Yeah, it’s a problem. A problem I have to find a way to resolve. I mean, look at that fancy scarf. And by calling it a scarf, I’m doing it such an injustice. It’s more like, a wearable piece of art (!!!)
    Don’t get me wrong, I love all these necklaces BUT… these chunky beauties are show stoppers and I can never say no to a good show stopper.
  • {Photos by Rotem Rachel Chen}

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Orit Ben Arie | A Fragile Reality | September 27.16

  • If only I had a superpower… I would have found my way to see “One by One”, Orit Ben Arie’s ceramic installation at The Biennale of Israeli Ceramics in The Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv.
    I was fortunate enough to have seen the prototypes of these crazy beautiful fragile tools, almost two years ago, when Orit was still living in Berkeley (and yeah, I miss her dearly!) and I even convinced her, to save me one of them, the minute the biennale is over.
    Orit sculptural objects are raising questions regarding the connection between a handmade object and an industrialized commercial object. She uses traditional sculpting techniques and ceramic material with all its symbolic significance, by which she refers to preserving her authentic fingerprint as an artist and questioning its necessity in the industrialized world.
    “The stoneware, is a focal point, that allows me to switch between the practical or useful and the unpractical. I love the gap and tension between these two extremes and that’s what inspire me most.”
    Symbolic. Metaphoric. Actual. Real. Functional. Intimate. You can find them all, among these white creations, that invite you into the sacred and isolated world of a ceramist behind her closed studio doors.
    Oh wait, if you, just like me, wish to own your very own white tool, you should write Orit, she might consider adding a bunch of them, to her ever evolving etsy shop!

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Yael Keila Sagi | Memphis-ed Away | September 7.16

  • I’ve been following Yael Keila Sagi’s artistic footsteps for a long time. I think it was back in 2011, when I first bumped into this bigger than life designer, who wasn’t afraid of bold and over the top accessories. In her world, no material or object is off limits. I mean, have you heard of someone who likes playing around and designing with bells as their main material?! Anyways, that was back then. Yael, a trained fashion designer, decided that accessories make her much happier than cloths, and that move made me extra happy!
    Lately she sent my way her latest collection, “Memphis”, which was inspired by the 80′s design group, “Memphis”. For Yael, as for the Memphis guys, everything goes. From unconventional shapes to bold textures and patterns, crazy color choices and wacky materials. Oh with only one exception, Yael sticked to a monochromatic palette, which I love!. Remember, this girl is not a trained jewelry designer, and so the road was bumpy at time BUT the outcome is beyond surprising and good. Soooooooo good. Hand painted oak wood, mixed with marble and crackle paint, geometric, and sculptural. Need I say more?!
    Oh one last thing, if #BTS, is your thing, head over to Yael’s instagram feed. She is definitely not afraid to show the messy and raw parts of daily life.
    You can get in touch with Yael at: yaelutza {at} gmail {dot} com
  • {Photos by Merav Ben Loulou}

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Chanan Reifen | A Knitted Soul | August 24.16

  • If you’ll ask me what kind of designers fascinate me the most, I’d say it has to be textile designers and especially the knitwear kind. These guys have a willpower made out of steel. I mean, can you imagine sitting and weaving or knitting away day in and day out, waiting for a pattern to finally show itself? And we didn’t even mention these damn mistakes. Ho boy, when these occur… there is no undo button!
    For these reasons and many more, I’m beyond excited to share with you a near and dear interview with Chanan Reifen. Chanan is an energetic guy, who seems to do it all, without taking a second to breathe, ever since he graduated from FIT back in 2015.
    To be honest, I’ve known this wonder boy for a long time, way before I knew he’d turn out to be a mighty knitter. So sitting back (while he went to school and then interned in Milan and back in the US), trying to be polite and super patient was killing me! Waiting for him to start doing his thing in the real world was really nerve wrecking.
    Anyway, it’s time to let Chanan do what he does best, which means talk about his world (among other things) and charm you along the way. Seriously, this guy is the real deal and there is a lot more to come out of his mighty hands.
    You can get in touch with Chanan at: chananreifen {at} gmail {dot} com
  • I’d love to hear about you, your journey, how it all began.
    I was born in Jerusalem, near the Hebrew University campus, where my parents met at Med school. Growing up, we moved around a lot. My parents are really enthusiastic about traveling and have embedded an enthusiasm for exploration in me and my sister. By the time I was 18, I had lived in 4 different countries. I feel that the desire to create and innovate started from that. After I completed my Army service as a medic officer in the home front command, I backpacked through Central America. A couple of friends and I rented a boat and sailed around Lake Atitlán in Guatemala, stopping at all the small villages around the lake. I was fascinated by how the only way to distinguish one village from the next was through the different textiles. That was when I realized how important knitted textiles and surface design were in creating identity and character.
    Where do you live, what do you like about it and how does it affect your creations?
    I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The true origin of “hipsters”. One stop out of Manhattan, New York. Brooklyn is the origin of many influential designers, artists, musicians, social leaders etc. Brooklyn is an international culture melting pot. The diversity enriches my creative mind; I’m constantly exposed to modernism, traditions, urbanity and art, on the streets and while visiting this city never ending museums.
  • What are the advantages/disadvantages of being an Israeli designer?
    As a designer there are several attributes that I consider Israeli. For example, my sense of urgency to innovate, while keeping a casual approach. As an Israeli-designer, trained in the US and Europe, my ability to adapt and express internationality in my designs is my strongest advantage. Israeli design has a sense of resourcefulness and functionality. We always try to have a reason for what we are doing, design should be more than just “pretty” it needs to serve a purpose.
    What makes you different from other designers?
    Design needs to excite and to me, fashion is a fantasy. Knitwear and knitted textiles are a medium to express that excitement and novelty.
    I consider functionality and focus on volume and color, all while portraying ideas I research and express in the work. I have a lot of experience working in a great variety of designer brands, this sets me apart as a designer and gives me the skill to be a part of a team while maintaining individuality, contributing to a vision with my specialty knowledge (knitwear design and development).
    Which materials do you work with?
    I love mixing natural yarns like Cotton, which has no stretch, with Lycra or other elastic materials. It allows you to alter the characteristics of non-stretch yarns while maintaining their quality, thus playing around with volume. Cotton also retains color quite well, which I find helpful when expressing strong graphic concepts.
  • Can you describe your work process?
    Research! Good design comes from good inspiration research. I start by researching images or reading about a topic, pulling together and collating visual research. It’s a crucial step in starting the design process. I create a mood board to express a “feel” of the artwork. A choice of material and yarn follows; here I consider tactility, flexibility, color options and technical solutions and applications. I create a few “swatches” to test the textile and pattern of the knit, how it could later construct a garment. Then the pattern is planned, a flat demonstration of how the clothing will be built. Finally the knitting occurs whether knit in whole or cut and sewn.
    What does a normal day in your life look like?
    I start my day with the most difficult task of carrying a coffee cup on a crowded subway car. This is my greatest challenge. If I made on to the subway and managed to finish my coffee on my commute to work I know the day will be just fine.
    Once I get to work, I spend the next few hours researching and sketching ideas, attending fittings and design meetings.
    I do my best to meet up with friends and prefer to have dinner with company, sharing conversation with close friends is the best way to decompress after a busy day.
  • Graduation projects are my absolute favorite. Can you share a little bit about yours?
    In my thesis project “Resident Transient” I used knitted textiles as a platform for memories. Objects and garments that carry memories of our homes and identities which we carry with us in the most intimate way, even when we are far away from our original homes. I was inspired by the graphic qualities of neo-tribal prints and the voluminous silhouettes of backpackers distorting them with colors and texture.
    What is the most unusual piece you have ever designed and which one was your first?
    The first piece I designed was a yellow green rib sweater inspired by the daisy fields of Israel. I loved it and thought it was so cool even though the colors were a bit much. The most unusual piece I designed never made it beyond the studio doors. It was a asymmetric jacquard tank with one too many pieces. Not really marketable, even though I was super proud of it.
  • Is there anything in particular that fuels your creativity as a designer?
    Creativity cannot really be forced. The result is always better when it comes naturally. Anything can fuel it and inspiration can come from any direction.
    Can you tell me which designers inspire you?
    I love Nicolas Ghesquière, Mary Katrantzou, Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Thom Browne, Preen, Peter Pilotto, JW Anderson, Loewe… The list really goes on forever, I’m drawn to these designers as they are not afraid to challenge traditional silhouettes and demonstrate excellent use of color.
    What about some web sites and blogs that you visit when you’re in a need for a boost of creative inspiration?
    DesignBreak, obviously! Pinterest is addictive, something that can start as a light jog can become a marathon of imagery. I sometimes prefer buying print. Some of my favorite magazines are Wallpaper, Surface, Love and AnotherMan.
    Are there any up and coming designers that you like at the moment?
    I think that Jonathan Simkhai is doing a really great job!
    What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting out?
    Sometimes the best thing you can do, is to let go. Knitwear is a science, it is so accurate and calculated but errors can be a blessing. Especially when working with overseas factories, sometimes things can get lost in translation, but this is a great opportunity to be surprised by the outcome.
    What do you find most rewarding about your career?
    The most rewarding thing is the unknown. The journey never ends and being excited about the future is almost as exciting as realizing it.
    What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    “Be on purpose”, advise from my mom. Having goals and dare to pursue them.
  • Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?
    Saturday morning I head over to a local bakery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I’ll have a Bagel or a Doughnut or both, depending on what occurred Friday night prior.
    What’s your favorite neighborhood in NY/Brooklyn and why?
    I love Williamsburg, where I reside. Williamsburg has the best boutiques, the best coffee, restaurants and galleries. The original hipster-neighborhood, great for people watching too!
    I know you’ve been away for a while but… what’s Israel’s best-kept secret?
    Every year, when I visit in the summer, my best friends and I go on a road trip that ends somewhere in Misgav in the north of Israel, at a secret restaurant, with the best deserts. I really can’t tell where it is as I am never the driver…
    What are you working on right now?
    In the works is collaboration with a colleague I studied with at FIT… Stay tuned. I’m also consulting for a variety of companies.
    What’s next? What is your dream?
    My dream is to never stop making and creating. I hope the creativity and curiosity never fade. I wouldn’t mind being the creative director of Balenciaga at some point :)
  • And finally, please share with us something nobody knows about you.
    I speak Italian quite well. Grazie mille per avermi su DesignBreak.

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SALT & PAPER | Orly Dahbash | It’s black, It’s white | August 16.16

  • I think I died and went to a geometric heaven. It’s the black and white kind, which only means, it’s the best kind of heaven!
    I’m not sure how I missed these beauties by Orly Dahbash, aka SALT & PAPER. Seriously. Where have I been?! I need to thank dezignzoom, for waking me up!
    Think handmade linen stitched binding, with a triangle pocket and a pen holder addition. I mean, these geometric notebooks, are to die for. And… did I mention that it’s printed with gold foil?
    The only thing I regret is not posting this ahead of time, because by now, all the heavenly notebooks are sold out. Oh well, you can still go with the geometric cards. After all, “It’s black, it’s white” and you know how the rest of the song goes.

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