by Sonal ShahJul 09, 2021
"I was brought up in an arty home and while growing up I thought everyone was an artist. I didn’t know that some people were not artists," says Ron Arad on UNSCRIPTED as he reminisces days from his childhood in Tel Aviv, where he was born in 1951 to a sculptor father and painter mother.
In this series of quick-witted interviews presented by STIR, legendary Israeli industrial designer, artist and architect, Ron Arad, shares fond memories from his growing up years, his obsession with hats, cars and ping pong, and hobbies and rituals that have kept him hooked in the last many months of global COVID-19 lockdown.
I do so much because I am lazy. I am not a methodical person who goes way deep into something. I like to jump from one thing to the other.
Arad shares that as he was exceptionally good with drawing and sketching as a child, this caught the interest of his mother who being an artist herself believed that art was not a 'safe' profession, but architecture was. “Instead of saying, “He’ll be a good artist one day,” she often used to say, “He’ll be a good architect”. How wrong she was!” he recounts with a smile.
The London-based designer, who turned 70 on April 24, 2021, is considered today as one of the most influential contemporary voices in the world of design. While he emerged, in the early 80s, as a distinctive young talent with the design of his first product – the sharp and sleek postmodernist masterpiece, Rover Chair - his works only got bigger and better as years passed by. Recognised for constant experimentation with materials such as steel and aluminium, his works created over the last three decades have celebrated three major retrospectives - hosted at the MOMA in New York, the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Barbican in London – and presented as public collections of some of the most important museums and galleries worldwide. He is a recipient of several coveted honours including the London Design Medal, the Gio Ponti International Design Award, and the Compasso d’Oro.
I am afraid of boredom but not really because there are always ways to amuse yourself.
On UNSCRIPTED, the former AA London graduate talks about how sameness and trends that dominate the design world bore him and why he believes manifestos, instructions and particularly the world ‘should’ comprise sheer nonsense when it comes to architectural education today. A design advice that he swears by, he adds, is to not listen to any advice.
Having designed iconic products for many leading design companies such as Kartell, Moroso, Vitra, Alessi and Cappellini and Cassina, to name a few, the master experimenter walks STIR through two of his most recent projects – a bespoke suit imagined as protection blanket covering cars in the street (Morgan Undercover), and artistic masks that let you wear the maniacal smile of Albert Einstein, the unsettling expression of Dali, and the animated grin of Shakespeare.
Tap on the cover video for the complete conversation.
Curated by Pramiti Madhavji (Consultant, Content Adviser, STIR), UNSCRIPTED is a STIR-original series of quick-witted video interviews with leading design professionals who give a peek into their undiscovered lives. A melting pot of quests, revelations and quirks, the series releases a new episode every Sunday as designers reveal unheard and unknown nuggets from their lives, in response to 30 questions.
All photographs © Ron Arad. Images may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced, or used in part or whole without obtaining permission. The photographs in this video are not licensed for personal, commercial, or public use, or use in the public domain in any form.