Tel Aviv product designer Shir Avraham believes in working with local professionals to preserve craft
Words by Cathy Hayward
Tel Aviv native Shir Avraham, is a product design graduate from the Holon Institute of Technology in Israel. Still living in Tel Aviv today, Avraham recalls creating and constructing for as long as she can remember. She says: ‘Materials, colours, textures and crafts have always been a big part of my life.’ Avraham ensures that all of her products are designed and handmade by local professionals – she believes ‘local craft can be preserved’ and prides herself in supporting local people, making the product more personal. Since her graduation in 2017, Avraham has been recognised by international design competitions and won the Asia Design Prize in 2018.
Yemenite Totem (main image): Taking inspiration from the Jewish Yemenite culture, this distinctive design brings together tradition and modern functionality. The Yemenite Totem is a stackable seating set of four stools, made of processed maple wood, and a brass tray – elements that can be stacked on top of one another, fully or partially, as a modular design. The stools feature an iron frame as well as rods in different sizes. The rubber threads are embroidered and woven into the frame. Various types of materials and artisanal techniques create a play between colours and textures. The Yemenite Totem reflects how past and present ways of living can co-exist, by giving a solution to an everyday need while bringing back old cultural styles.
Wrapped collection: Wrapped is a collection of storage units that inspire curiosity and the actions led by it. The collection is made from a metal frame with silicone cords wrapped around it, a mixture of industrial process and handcraft. The silicone cords allow for users to reach in with their hand and get objects out with ease. Due to the product’s simplicity, both its colour and size are highly customisable.
Avraham first embarked on a research project to learn more about local crafts, including filigree craftsmanship and embroidery in unique clothing. She found inspiration from the Jewish Yemenite culture, influencing her to go on to design the Yemenite Totem. Avraham has had plentiful opportunities to travel and volunteer around the world and has visited places such as India, Vietnam, Latin America and Europe. During her travels she was exposed to many traditional handicrafts practiced by different cultures. Speaking of her design career, Avraham is guided by the question of ‘how design can bring together the traditional with the modern – working together as a functional object. In my work, I am combining different crafts with modern technology, trying to create a unique product that is inspired by our past but looks on to our future.’