Graffiti-clad Tchochkes and the Vinyl Explosion

We have a new weekly writer! Daniel Klein is a graphic artist whose apartment has been featured in Tchochkes. His design style is really fun. Originally from the US, Dani was an Art Director who has recently gone freelance. His artwork is amazing, BTW. Give him a warm welcome and leave a comment! (A nice one, preferably.) Dani will be posting every Monday. ~ Shira

Dear readers, I am thrilled to kick-off my weekly post on the wonderful world of Tchochkes! You may or may not have picked up on it, but there is a fun art and design trend that has been gaining momentum over the past decade. I’m talking about the vinyl-toy movement—an amalgamation of graffiti artists, designers and limited-edition plastic toys.

The phenomenon originated in China and exploded in Japan, drawing inspiration from pop culture and anime. In the USA, a company called Kidrobot has been at the forefront of popularizing the vinyl-toy culture since 2002, and it is wildly successful. The company collaborates with contemporary street artists to produce collectibles, which are sold for as little as $6. Many of the fabulous tchochkes are actually quite valuable, some having been sold for thousands of dollars. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) acquired 13 Kidrobot toys in late 2007 for its own permanent collection.

I’ll admit that this may not be an aesthetic that everyone can appreciate, but my own small collection really infuses some personality into the room. Most of the toys are suitable for children, however, many come in raunchy adult themes such as the “Smorkin’ Labbit” series by Frank Kozik featuring bunnies in bondage gear smoking cigarettes.

"Dunny" is one of the most popular series by Kidrobot

"Dunny" is one of the most popular series by Kidrobot (photo:

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Home Tour (I think): Yaakov Sasson’s rooftop gallery

Yaakov Sasson is best described as an eccentric. I talked with him a bit, but I couldn’t quite tell whether he lived here or if this was his work space or gallery. According to Houses From Within “The roof top on Alfasi is not a house but really an institution.” Which doesn’t really answer my question either. I think you’ll see what I’m saying though when you check out his place.


Above is the hallway to get up to the rooftop. There are so many brilliant elements here. Some of my favorites were:

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Le pouf exquisite, now in fashion

I saw the pouf emerging in home furnishings a few months ago and now I see it everywhere.  What we have here is a gentrified “floor pillow” that comes in many colors, shapes and sizes.  Some of the most popular are the Moroccan leather pouf in neutrals and brights, the Suzani folk themed embroidered pouf and the good old square floor cushion.

Leather poufs by John Derian


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Table clocks by Itay Noy

Itay Noy designs watches and clocks – as we don’t do fashion accessories here on Tchochkes I’m going to tell you about his clocks. Table clocks to be specific. High end rather exclusive table clocks to be exact. Gorgeous, gold, kind of bling bling table clocks.


The Double Time clock (above) is my favorite of his collection (it’s also the most expensive – why is it always like that?) and costs $4,600 USD.

Itay studied at Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem, Israel and has his Masters Degree (M.Des) from the Design Academy in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Currently he teaches watch design at Bezalel.

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White on white, so refreshing


 I am definitely “all about color” but every once in a while I find all white products so refreshing.  I was routing around on the Internet when I came across Le Souk, a website that has lots of really chic white ethnic inspired home furnishings.  I adore the pouf in this photo.

Here’s just the pouf…



Ottomans are so in-fashion right now.  I have seen them popping up in  designer collections everywhere.  Not to mention the white trend that has been around for a while but is just now reaching it’s peak  

*I absolutely love this white version from Le Souk  .   

Home tour: Dani and David’s fabulous flat

I recently visited the apartment of Dani, a freelance graphic designer and artist, and his husband David, a linguist. They moved to the Karmelit neighborhood in South Tel Aviv in 2007 and celebrated five years of marriage last month. Dani told me about the difficulty in dealing with the Ministry of Interior after their arrival. Surprisingly, the real hardship was not in having their marriage recognized—yes, gays have more rights here than in most of the United States—but rather in the recognition of David’s conversion to Judaism.

I laughed when I heard this, but it’s not atypical. (Although one could argue that Israel shouldn’t give them a hard time about anything – but this is Israel after all – they have to give you a hard time about something. When I got married I had to get a letter from an Orthodox Rabbi stating I was born Jewish and was single when I moved to Israel – now that’s a story…) Without giving my full opinion on the matter, I can tell you that the unabashedly liberal civil court system and the separate court system that deals with religious matters, such as conversion, make for an interesting dichotomy.


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Jewish drinking glasses, really!


I can’t decide if these 10oz. juice glasses from Fishs Eddy are a nightmare or a hoot, they remind me of those printed jelly jars from way back when.  If anything they are haltingly insane, so much so that I stopped in my tracks when I saw them.  Labeled “Heroes of the Torah” and priced at $20.00 for a set of 4, you get a unique opportunity to re-connect with Rabbi’s “Goldberg, Hildenseiner, Rabinovitch & Spector (thank you very much).

These drinking glasses may be just what you need to stay connected to your Jewish roots just in case you didn’t make the connection the first time around… now I’ve seen it all! 


Photos by Fishes Eddy online

* They do ship internationally via UPS.