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In our daily rubric about the most famous designers of the 20th century, Ron Arad is the one being featured today.
Famous designer Ron Arad stands out among the most influential designers of our time for his daredevil approach to form, structure, technology, and materials in work that spans the disciplines of industrial design, sculpture, architecture, and mixed-medium installation.
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Arad was born in Tel Aviv in 1951 and studied at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. In 1973 he moved to London, where he attended the Architectural Association School of Architecture, and in 1981, together with long-time business partner Caroline Thorman, he opened One Off, a gallery-studio for experimental design that showed not only his work but also that of fellow freethinkers such as Danny Lane and Tom Dixon.
Since then, the name and address of the office and the scale of its work have changed, but its spirit remains the same. For nearly three decades, Arad has countered the traditional separation of the roles of architect, designer, and artist. Prominent in art and design communities while keeping a foot in industrial mass production, he has inspired a new generation of designers in many fields to adopt hybrid practices that have the flexibility to match today’s shifts in design applications. His work has been imitated, idolized, feverishly discussed, and criticized, but never ignored.
This famous product designer’s career began with the Rover chair. He was Head of Design Products Department at the Royal College of Art from 1997 to 2009. Arad designed in 1994 the Bookworm bookshelf, which was still produced in 2011 by the Italian company Kartell. Arad’s work has been described as “scary”, considering its “macho concrete and cut metal; tense sheets of tempered steel and guillotine edges”.
In 2005, Arad designed chandeliers for the Swarovski crystal company which if one has the number, can display text messages that are sent to it by incorporating light-emitting diodes (LEDs) operated by SMS text messages. He also has had tables that climb walls instead of being centered in the room. Arad’s works are often worked into distinctive biomorphic shapes and are created from his medium of choice, steel. He made plans to expand his studio in 2008.
In 2008, he designed the Bauhaus Museum in Tel Aviv. In 2008–09, Arad paired with KENZO to create his first perfume bottle. The bottle was on display in his exhibit No Discipline.
He has also designed the Design Museum Holon together with Bruno Asa, which was opened in Israel in 2010.
Arad’s installation “720 Degrees” opened at the sculpture garden of the Israel Museum in August 2012. It consists of 5,600 silicon rods that form a circle 26 feet above the garden. Visitors view projected images standing inside or outside the structure.
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