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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Gili Doliner | The Secret Life of A Chicken Earring | July 21.16

  • Gili Doliner has a thing with chickens. More like working hard at growing a flock of chickens. In fact, these are the fanciest chickens, you’ll ever meet, if I can say so myself.
    Gili’s chickens are well taken care of. If not being worn as earnings, they live the shelfie life. They sit and observe their surroundings and mainly other pieces of jewelry. These chickens have a lot of attitude with their skinny long legs and lush hairy feathers.
    It all began with Gili being a smarty pants, who likes to get down to the nitty gritty of how things work. Especially the closing mechanism of an earring. That’s when she realized that once the earring is in use, the chicken is in it’s upright position. The minute it’s open, the chicken can rest its legs and transition into its second duty as a fully functioning piece of art.
    Fun fact: each feather is made with a separate thread and can move and run wild like human hair.
    I especially love the titles Gili decided to name her gang. From “naked chicken” to “chicken salad”, I’m sure you can see where this is going.
    I can only say that I can’t wait for a much bigger flock!

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Na’ama Ben Moshe | You Are A Doll! | July 11.16

  • Hello! It’s me. Einat. It’s been forever since I wrote something.
    With the 2016 Graduate shows popping up in Israel and while few of my favorite 2015 graduates starting to bloom, I decided that it’s the perfect time to show up and just start writing again.
    So… Without further ado, let’s talk about Na’ama Ben Moshe and her adorable creatures. They are so much more than just adorable, but let’s start from the beginning. Na’ama is a 2015 graduate of the Textile Design Department at the Shenkar College. In her graduate project, The Fabric Man, she danced around different cultures, symbols, images and characters. While doing so, she played with various interpretation to the worlds of textile and illustration, which are a huge part of who she really is. The idea behind “The Fabric Man” is a bit complex, somewhat philosophical even. Na’ama attempted to define a character and its story. A story about the human journey of physical and mental transformation. It all sounds a bit vague but the bottom line is Which One Are You? A series of 12 plush dolls. 12 dolls, that symbolize 12 different archetypes that live inside us, derived from the psychological theory of Carl Gustav Jung. Jung suggested that in our universal collective subconscious exist 12 archetypes, which are common and exist in all people. Now, let’s move to the most exciting part! There are 12 oh-so-adorable yet feisty, mundane or even heroic creatures waiting for you. They are hoping you’ll find yourself within one of them and back your heart out on their kickstarter campaign. I’m still debating if I’m more of a dreamer or a explorer. Oh well, who am I kidding, I’m most definitely a dreamer!
    Oh, just last thing, I must admit that I’m blown away by Na’ama’s mad illustrated skills (after all, it all starts with a sketch). I mean, these dolls are full of character and details. Right?!

in Illustration, Israeli Designers, Textile Design | Tags: , , , | No comments



Tamara Efrat | Coding, The Embroidered Way | January 11.16

  • Instagram is a wonderful thing, especially when you live abroad and need your daily fix of Israeli inspiration. That’s where I stumbled upon Tamara Efrat’s mesmerizing Crafted Technology. Crafted Technology is a collaborated research project between Tamara, a M.Des graduate of the Industrial Design Department at the Bezalel Academy and Moran Mizrahi and Dr. Amit Zoran of the School of Computer Science at the Hebrew University.
    Let’s set the record straight, computer science is beyond me, but when Tamara talks about it, I kinda feel like there is still hope for me. She makes it sound like something that can be tangible, as crazy it sounds. Then again, maybe the only tangible things I’m referring to are these crazy beautiful, under the sea, kind of bags.
    “The project investigates cooperation between craftsmen and technology experts, and is focused on possibilities of contemporary interpretation and use of traditional smocking embroidery, through parametric tools… as an example of a repetitive handcraft dedicated to the creation of structures and designs, which is compatible with digitization. Through contemporary technology and parametric planning, the project attempts to revive and enhance the original characteristics of embroidery and turn it into a practical three-dimensional object of diverse textures and configurations.”
    You can watch how the magic unfolds right here BUT WAIT, that’s not all!
    “Crafted Technology is a collection of a new line of bags, where each and every item has its own unique look and appearance, reflecting the group of parameters making up its genetic code. Personal customization of the bags is performed by the technology itself, which enables a unique design for each object… The parametric principle dictates emphasis on a certain physical or performance characteristic, such as elasticity, plasticity, rigidity, softness or axiality, enabling the designer to enhance it at the expense of other characteristics.”
    Sounds like a piece of cake, right?!

{Photos by Daniel Shechter}

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Say Hello To DesignBreak’s Etsy Page! | December 11.15

  • Everywhere I turn I end up staring at super pretty and tempting gift guides for the holidays. The problem is that I don’t really celebrate any of these holidays. I might wish I did (oh hi there, my dream Christmas tree!) but being Jewish means don’t. With that being said, I’m not about to write a fancy gift guide (although, I have a pretty big wish list, for any given celebration), BUT for all you lucky peeps who do celebrate christmas, I thought that it’s time to introduce you to DesignBreak’s very own Etsy Page. On my Etsy Page, you can find some of my favorite Israeli designers and their shops. There is so much mad talent back home in Israel. In fact that’s why I actually started my DesignBreak journey. From shoes to ceramics to textile, to accessories to stationary. You can find it all. My Etsy Page is still a work in progress but I’d love to highlight some of my absolute fave designers. So here goes:
  • Shoes and especially young Israeli shoe designers, make my life super easy, when it come to show stoppers and ice breakers. If you too need to rely on an accessory, let me unfold my secret weapon aka my shoe fairies: Norman and Bella and her modern take on classy. ARAMA and his color candy kingdom. Olive Thomas and her I-need-it-all shoes. Tamar Shalem and her pointed beauties (at the moment I’m dreaming of these cauliflower beauties). The embroidery goddess, Miss Katz and Birds (have you seen these foxy oxfords?!). Imelda Shoes and her sparkly touch. And finally, Liebling and his structured shoes.
  • Next are my absolute fave textile rockstars. I’ve wrote about them all once or twice before but that won’t stop me. Say hello to the gang of fabric whisperers: Mika Barr and her folded patterns. Michal and Roni, the Swift Textiles girls and their impeccable sense of style. Lee Coren and her bluer than blue scarves. She is not selling them on her shop at the moment, but THIS SCARF! (I’m going to put it here just in case). Shirly Rov and her super cool pillows. I’m into these three in particular. And finally, Dikla Levsky and her out of this world hand screen printed abilities. This girl is the real deal, when it come to mind blowing patterns!
  • Now let’s move on to my first love, aka the land of Accessories and especially jewelry (and bags). For the record, I’m not talking about the sparkly ones. When it comes to a worth while piece of jewelry I’m referring to a bigger than life and brilliant materials kind of beauty. And bags… well, you know me, I can’t have too many, plus, the bigger the better. So here we go again: Galit and Lior, the CONTOUR ladies and their must-have-more-than-ten-fingers geometric goodies. Adi Lev and her lined badass creations. Meirav Ohayon that designs not only rad pieces of jewelry but also one of a kind dipped in ink bags. Talia Sari and her mapped pieces but also that brilliant Lego heart.yes, heart of Lego aka Levo. Michal Taharlev and her I-wish-I-could-afford-them-all jewelry and especially this one! Miss Gittit Szwarc and her Knobbly gang of coolness. Hadas Shaham and her Industrial concrete jewelry that you just can’t leave behind (I already have these and these earrings). Lee Coren and her and her “I traveled the world and then came up with the most beautiful prints” bags. And let’s not forget Tesler + Mendelovitch‘s constructed wooden clutches.
  • NOW, let’s talk about ceramics. We have a lot of it in Israel but there are only handful of designers that really talk my language, minimalism. I’m mostly talking about Yaara Landau-Katz and her ONE and MANY less-is-always-more creations. Dima Gurevich and his grumpy SCULPTURE in DESIGN beauties. Yulia Tsukerman and her art-that-can-defiantly-function objects. Lior Shachar and her 1220 Ceramics Studio I-wish-I-had-a-huge-kitchen serving goodness.
    Oh my, that was a long one. I hope you survived it. Before I leave you with your last minute shopping spree, I need to refresh your memory about my black-on-white doodle friend, Avital Pudinsky and her PUDISH‘s I-wish-I-had-room-for-all-her-drop-dead-gorgeous notebooks.
    Anyways, now I done. for real. Ready. Set. Etsy!

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Shenn Brush | A Toothbrush For The Minimalist In You | November 20.15

  • You know that black and white is my all time go to combo. I can never go wrong with that. With that being said, I have a feeling that Tal and Ester Mor Sinay thought of me, when they came up with their design for the Shenn Brush. Not really but people like me (and them) for sure. Basically the Shenn Brush is my dream toothbrush. Black or white, minimalistic and good looking. Some (okay, I.) might even say sexy! AND YEAH, there is a kickstarter campaign going on at the moment. In case you are wondering, I’m planing on backing a brush or two…
    “The process started after we moved to a new house and started redecorating it. When we reached the bathroom we understood we were looking for something different. We were standing at the store in front of the toothbrushes stand and they all looked the same to me, a combination of many colors and materials. We couldn’t find a single brush with a descent and calm design. That was the moment we started playing with the idea of designing a toothbrush. We realized that we were putting so much effort, energy and love in our house’s interior but our toothbrushes didn’t fit their new environment.”
    If you are anything like those people, who know better, you should have your very own Shenn Brush.
    Before I leave you and head to buy my black brushes, here are some fun facts: you should brush your teeth twice a day for about 2 minutes every time.
    Store the brush in an upright position and allow the toothbrush to air-dry (just like the Shenn Brush!). If more than one brush is stored in the same holder or area, keep the brushes separated to prevent cross-contamination (yep, you guessed it. Just like the Shenn Brush does).

in Industrial Design, Israeli Designers | Tags: , , , | No comments



The mini’s Birthday | Take One | November 11.15

  • November 11th. That’s the day our lives changed forever.
    A lot has happened since my pregnancy days to the moment I held my tiny Leo in my arms for the first time (I still haven’t found the courage to go through the camera’s film from those hospital days.)
    To be honest, the blog was the one that suffered the most. Things around here weren’t the same and although it hurts to admit it, I have come to realize that sometimes somethings got to give. I might not like the fact that I couldn’t do it all BUT I became a… Well, I still can’t or won’t call myself the m word, it’s too intense.
    Life in three is a lot of things: sleepless, adventurous (especially that nightly drive to the ER or that 16 hours flight to Israel), sometimes scary, always new, messy, surprising, weird, but mostly mind blowing. This tiny creature with his big brown eyes and never ending smile is ours. Just our, especially when our families are miles away.
    Oh and did I mention that it’s time to start thinking about how to deal with the fact that I don’t cook (it’s not in me)? The poor guy doesn’t even know that we are counting on him to master the kitchen. That’s the only way for him to actually eat a homey meal that tastes good.
    But before getting ahead of myself, I mostly wonder how did we get here. It’s beyond crazy and yeah, even borderline Syfy. The mini survived a full year and by the looks of it, he is having fun. All I hope for the next year is that we will continue to collect memories, adventures and maybe a few hugs here and there (when is that first hug coming?!). I also hope that you’ll see me more around here, because I like it and it makes me feel good.
    Okay, now it’s time to blow the giant confetti balloon that we bought, and start our birthday adventure in the city. Hopefully the mini likes carousels, green leaves, naked cakes, cheese plates and confetti among other things. Yep, today is going to be a good day!
  • {Photos by me}

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