House of Worship in the middle of downtown

Dwarfed by Tel-Aviv’s downtown skyscrapers this little house of worship still manages to thrive.

The Ohel Moed synagogue was part of the Houses from Within tours that I was at the beginning of May.

In 1925 Joseph Berlin was commissioned to design a synagogue for the Yemenite Jewish community. Founded and funded with the help of Adeni Jews, it became the largest Sephardi synagogue of Tel Aviv.

Today the building is used for daily prayers by employees of the Electrical Company who work nearby and some 15 regular worshipers who come on the Sabbath.  The place is kept alive thanks to an entrepreneur who operates it as a trendy family occasion hall. Continue reading

ICFF 2010: Everything’s Illuminated

The 22nd annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair has come and gone, and it was a complete overload of spectacular color and innovative design. While there were a few things my cohort and I deemed “same thing, different colors,” the majority of the show offered a uniquely original perspective on the modern home. And one thing that particularly caught my eye was the fantastic lighting that was showcased. So while I finish processing everything that’s bouncing around in my head, here are a few pieces that were, for me, love at first light.

Eugenio Menjivar ICFF 2010 Loto pendants

Salvadoran designer Eugenio Menjivar’s breathtaking Loto lamp series—organically inspired by the lotus flower and crafted from recycled plastics—is best described by his statement on the collection: “An eco-experimental body of work that transforms discarded household materials into precious objects, allowing plastic to be reborn to educate consumers about sustainable design.” Be sure to check out his website, a whimsical work of art in itself.

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It’s Almost Time: ICFF 2010

Anglepoise lamp

By this time next week, my friend Mandy and I will be on a plane bound for the Big Apple—plenty of shopping, visiting an old friend and hitting the 22nd annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

Billed as “North America’s singular showcase for contemporary design,” the four-day extravaganza of furniture, flooring, lighting, textiles and accessories will feature products from over 500 exhibitors from more than three-dozen countries. And in addition to all of that, there’s also the ICFF Studio featuring up-and-coming designers, the Materials Matter showcase of new materials, technology and production processes (something that completely fascinates me), and a juried exhibition of work by undergrad and graduate students from six of the world’s most prestigious design schools, including Parsons and the Pratt Institute.

There are also loads of programs, parties and awards to hand out, but then there’s the reason we’ll need an extra suitcase to get home—the ICFF Bookstore run by renowned NYC independent bookstore Archivia Books, which specializes in art, architecture, design, garden and interiors books from around the world. And rounding out the shopping portion of our trip, the designboom Mart, a global bazaar-style market where designers sell one to three products each—with stock limited to 100 pieces per stall—at prices ranging from $10 to $100. Did I mention we’re going to do all of this in two days?

I can’t wait to report back on what is sure to be a complete creative overload. But if you want to see it all for yourself, the last day of ICFF is open to the public, with tickets available for $50.

Apartment Becomes Art Space

I spent most of my free time in the last month cleaning up a long-neglected apartment in south Tel Aviv with a group of fellow artists. We patched the many craters in the crumbling walls, hauled away mountains of trash left by past tenants, painted everything white, and built a dividing wall in the kitchen.

Salame 97 Before

before

after

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If in doubt, swap it out

Sale_Tag

A challenging economy routinely brings creativity to the forefront, new ideas on how to save money are popping up everywhere.  Home themed swap parties are a smart way to purge the old and welcome the new without spending a dime.  I recently got my feet wet hosting a cookie swap over the holidays and now I am considering a home themed swap. 

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