Design Museum Holon Reveals its New Exhibition of Playful Landscape by Isralian Designer Sarit Shani Hay
Israel has reopened after two months of lockdown, and with it, a new exhibition at the Design Museum Holon that includes a site-specific installation by multidisciplinary designer Sarit Shani Hay, who specializes in child-centric design.
The exhibition "Black Box" opened on 25 February 2021, also includes over 200 objects by designers from all over the world, such as Philip Stark, Konstantin Grcic, Jaime Hayun, Richard Hutten, and Stefan Sagmeister. It is the first time these pieces, which are part of the museum’s own collection, are displayed to the public. The exhibition will be held till June 5, 2021.
For the exhibit, Shani Hay has created an imaginary landscape with cushioned volumes that evoke the rocky coastlines that sea lions, seals, bears, and other creatures call home.
The pieces, with their blue and taupe tones, communicate the bold curves of the museum building itself that was completed in 2010 by architect Ron Arad and showcases a dramatic exterior in red and orange stripes, while its underside, as seen from a glass wall in the room of Shani Hay’s installation, is painted in cooler shades.
When designing her creations, which are highly architectural while also playful and comforting, Shani Hay worked off these architectural elements. Arched forms resemble secluded bays and steep cliffs, and minimalistic wildlife creatures are nestled around them. The installation’s atmosphere and the colors of the designs change, depending on the time of day, from bright morning light to darker tones as the sun begins to set.
In her work, Shani Hay explores the relationships between the wild landscapes and the animals. “Animals occupy a central place in Sarit Shani Hay’s work,” says Maya Dvash, curator at Design Museum Holon. “She uses them to construct a private, imaginary jungle motivated by an empathic human gaze and a desire to overcome archaic fears. For many years she had created soft dolls and objects using various techniques while dialoguing with ancient handicraft designs. Her specialization in design for children has led her to frequently engage with the reciprocal relations that soft objects create in their encounter with children and adults."
The installation is on the second floor of the museum, and the pieces are wood constructions filled with foam and acrylic and wrapped in New Zealand lambswool.
Almost as if drawing the gently-curved shapes with a pencil, the designer made dense stitches using a traditional craft technique to follow the curves and emphasize the sculptural shapes. Shani Hay chose lambswool for its organic quality that is warm and natural-looking but also durable and heavy-duty. She had planned for the pieces to be played and lounged upon, but due to COVID-19 regulations, it is not possible for children and adults to sit on them now.
I started to work on the installation a year ago when the museum approached me. It was the beginning of COVID-19 days and there was a great feeling of uncertainty and anxiety. Recently I’ve become interested in the therapeutic effects of time spent in nature, particularly on children, a feeling that has enhanced due to our life under the pandemic. I’ve strived to create spaces that provide a sort of escape, a meditative feeling.
Sarit Shani Hay
Shani Hay’s installation is an evolution of her earlier work for the Tel Aviv Crafts and Design Biennale 2020 at the MUZA - Eretz Israel Museum, which also featured soft, rock-like shapes in grey tones.
About Sarit Shani Hay Design Studio
Tel Aviv-based award-winning designer, Sarit Shani Hay is a pioneer in the field of children's environments. As a multi-disciplinary designer, she combines art and design to create whimsical objects and dynamic spaces. Since launching her eponymous design studio in 1995, it has become Israel’s leading interior and furniture design studio, offering comprehensive interior design, along with custom furniture and accessories.
Over the last decade, Shani Hay has specialized in the design of public spaces for children with a focus on innovative and therapeutic pedagogical environments of the 21st century, both in schools and hospitals throughout Israel. Shani Hay's works have been published in Israeli and international media outlets, receiving global recognition, such as for The First Inclusive School in Tel Aviv, which was awarded the 2020 Social FRAME Award. Sarit's new book "Sarit Shani Hay: Creative Spaces for Children" was launched in 2020.