Home Floor designer X and O mark the location of veteran industrial designer’s whimsical flower...

X and O mark the location of veteran industrial designer’s whimsical flower exhibit


There is a whimsical sensibility to “XO Yaacov Kaufman,” an exhibition of colorful plastic flowers shaped in every way by industrial artist Yaacov Kaufman, considered the oldest statesman in Israeli design.

On display at Liebling House in Tel Aviv – the Bauhaus house designed by architect Dov Karmi in 1936 for Max and Tony Liebling, and restored by the German government as a museum – “XO” opened on October 28 and will remain until ‘on February 1.

O is half the exposure. It’s a plastic field of flowers that Kaufman has created throughout a pandemic year, made mostly from the containers of gum that he and his wife chew on daily.

(It’s not meant to be a recycling project, Kaufman warned; he just used a handy material.)

The X is for Kaufman’s collection of folding chairs, originally brought to Liebling House for use in a conference slated for 2020, though it ultimately took place online.

At this point, the chairs have been delivered to over 40 homes for use in the virtual gathering. Now the chairs are back at Liebling, mainly in the cafe on the first floor.

However, the focus is on hundreds of mostly white plastic cylinders, each about the size of a roll of toilet paper.

Plastic “flower” “XO” exhibit at Liebling House in Tel Aviv, which opened on October 28, 2021 (Jessica Steinberg / Times of Israel)

Many are coiled into shapes, some adorned with a bit of fabric or twine, others cut into ribbons or circles, and all are attached to wooden skewers – the kind used for a barbecue – and placed at the interior of metal tubes attached to simple wooden planks.

When Kaufman notes that he designed lighting fixtures for many years – “that’s how I made a living,” said longtime Academy of Arts and Design professor Bezalel – another look at these plastic cylinders remind viewers of miniature light fixtures, with contemporary bends and twists. with plastic shades.

This was not Kaufman’s intention, however.

Former Israeli industrial design statesman Yaacov Kaufman (Courtesy Studio Yaacov Kaufman)

At the time, when he started twisting those plastic tubes, he was stuck at home, during the pandemic’s first containment, unable to make it to his Bat Yam studio.

He started playing with the white plastic cylinders because “that’s what I do, I take an idea and I work on it,” he said.

The process of shaping the plastic parts began as a kind of pandemic therapy, Kaufman said.

“You do one, then another, then another, and you find out something,” he said. “It’s like writing, you write something that isn’t that great and you hope something good will come out eventually.”

“Here too, there is a lot of nonsense, but I’m not afraid to do nonsense,” he added.

Over the next year, along with other projects, Kaufman played with the cylinders, creating variations that are not always visible to the eye, but are there.

He pulled one out, pointing at a circular opening with a lid which he compared to the lid of a kettle, but which was clearly drawn from another circle cut on the other side.

From the poster for ‘XO Yaacov Kaufman’ at Liebling House in Tel Aviv, opened on October 28, 2021 (Courtesy Liebling House)

There are twisted flag-shaped cylinders, one with blue stripes that make it look like an Israeli flag – unintentionally – others stretched with black fabric, and another in which the plastic has been baked in , offering a different vision of form.

“It’s like typography,” Kaufman said. “The shapes are similar, but with nuances. Sometimes you see the differences, sometimes you don’t, but the variations are there. Everyone comes in and sees what they see.

Today, Kaufman values ​​the possibility of doing what he wants, freed from the constraints of lighting, which must be a functional design object.

“This is, for the most part, a dysfunction of the idea,” he said. “There are rules and regulations you have to follow with lighting and here everything is free to be whatever you want.”

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