Jerusalem Design Week2017 presents "Islands" –an inward exploration of design as a bridge between social, political and cultural boundaries

JUNE 8th – JUNE 15th
Sunday - Thursday: 12:00 – 22:00
Friday: 10:00 – 16:00
Saturday: 10:00-22:00 

Image Credit: Jerusalem Design Week

Image Credit: Jerusalem Design Week

May 2017: Jerusalem Design Week (JDW), announces its sixth annual design festival to be held in Jerusalem, one of the world’s most famous cities which is fast becoming a hub of contemporary, international design. Jerusalem Design Week is an initiative of Hansen House - Center for Design, Media and Technology, and sponsored by The Jerusalem

Development Authority in cooperation with the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, and the Jerusalem Municipality.

The theme for this year’s design festival is Islands, a reflection upon a global shift into an inward looking world of nations, communities, individuals and a redefinition of the notion of political, cultural and social barriers. These issues and shifts will be explored through various thematic exhibitions, programmes and collaborations in multiple locations throughout Jerusalem's eclectic Talbiya neighbourhood, including the Hansen House, a former telephone exchange and the Nature Museum.

Jerusalem, a city built on seven hills and home to a multitude of culturally diverse communities, is in fact both physically and virtually a collection of islands, manifested through a multi-pollard existence which has defined Jerusalem since ancient times.

The shift into an inward looking world of nations, communities and individuals and the redefinition of barriers have been overarching themes of our time. With growing immigration, nationalism and diminishing sense of security and safety, globalisation is replaced with the search for belonging and the familiar, a phenomenon that is currently taking place in both the physical and the online world.

Recognising these current socio-political trends, Jerusalem Design Week aims to start a conversation on how design addresses these notions and encourages cultural exchange and understanding by inaugurating a series of programmes to be continued for future festivals which will be interpreted through each year’s theme.

Led by Artistic Director, Anat Safran and Chief Curator, Tal Erez, and managed by Ayelet Dror for Ran Wolf Urban Planning and Project Management, Jerusalem Design Week’s curatorial team invited over 50 designers, both Israeli and international to create new works, installations and projects that would address the main Islands theme.

"Our goal is to create a multi-channel platform for designers from all disciplines to express their creativity by exploring a yearly theme. The complexity of the place we live and work in, combined with an effervescent creative energy is a fertile ground for an extraordinary and unique design experience. This year, Jerusalem Design Week Islands is celebrating and embracing the power of design and its unique ability to transcend international borders, evoking dialogue from more than 100 of the world’s most diverse and creative minds.”– Anat Safran, Artistic Director of Jerusalem Design Week

Inaugural Programmes

Design Arenas (Themed Islands)

As a part of its main exhibition at the Telephone Exchange Building, three prominent Israeli designers are overseeing the “islands” of Fashion, Visual Communication and Product Design. As dynamic, interactive exhibitions, these “islands” are where ground breaking designers will create conceptual yet working spaces of production, exhibition and interaction, using their respective disciplines. Additionally, this yearly programme places the designers at the head of the project chain, endowing them with responsibilities ranging from production to content creation.

Spearheading the Fashion Island, the Muslin Brothers, an avant-garde fashion collective based in Tel Aviv, are creating a giant wardrobe containing various pieces of clothing, each

differing in textiles and fabrics that visitors will be able to wear while exploring the exhibition, allowing them to experience the sensation of the clothing and become an element on display.

Led by two of Israel’s leading graphic designers, Guy Saggee and Michal Sahar, the Visual Communication Island will transform an industrial space into a real time news desk, collecting daily design week info and highlights to generate a daily newspaper, designed and printed on site using a changing team of graphic designers and printing techniques. The seven issues will be collected together to become JDW’s yearly catalogue.

The Product Design Island, led by Itay Ohaly, explores the notion of “the lonely island” where limited resources are what designers have to use. Designers will gradually convert the space throughout the week to fit different programmes, resulting in a public auction that will sell all the items produced on the island.

The International Teams Programme

To be hosted in the same location, at JDW’s main exhibition, the International Teams Programme aims to promote a constructive dialogue via means of design through the pairing of Israeli and international designers. Tasked with creating unique entities that strongly reflect this year’s curatorial theme, the works of five teams will be showcased and displayed throughout the week where the local perspective and the global urgency of the issue are at the intersect of the exchange of ideas.

The teams partaking in the Designer Collaborations Programme include Rami Tareef, an Israeli-Druze product designer working together with Maurizio Montalti, a Holland-based designer, whose project reflects upon the notion of borders, both as points of separation as well as their potential for connections.

Fictional Collective, a large collective of 27 designers of different disciplines and nationalities, will work both as a group and individually on a shared installation, showcasing the collective’s Modus Operandi as a form of networked island.

Matan Stauber, an interactive designer from Israel, is collaborating with two illustrators, Yaniv Torem (Israel) and Bee Grandinetti (Brasil) to create an interactive interface which presents a form of community, constantly affected by the presence of strangers (the audience) both in the way it is organized, as well as in their cultural influences.

The work of Erez Nevi Pana, an Israeli curator, interior and product designer, and Marlene Huissoud, a French graphic and product designer, explores the ephemerality of news in a networked world and the way they become vivid for an instance and then fade away. They do so by constructing a machine that constructs objects, only to deconstruct them after.

Israeli ceramicist and curator, Jonathan Hopp, and an award winning Danish information and graphic designer, Peter Orntoft will present work that calls attention to Larsen C, an iceberg roughly the size of the West Bank, which is slowly detaching itself from Antarctica to become the largest floating ice island in the world. Through the image of a media campaign, the team suggests it as a new utopia.

Academies Island

As students are viewed to be an integral and inherent part of the future of Israeli design, the Academies Island, located at the Nature Museum, will display works of students from Israel’s leading design academies, including Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Hadassah College, and The NB Haifa School of Design.

The Local History Programme

Each year, JDW will showcase a significant figure of Israeli design and their impact on the local design community. This year’s Local History exhibition, “Izika” will be hosted at the Hansen House and focuses on legendary curator, Izika Gaon (1938-1997). Gaon founded and led the Design and Architecture Department at the Israel Museum for more than 20 years, running over 120 exhibitions during that time. In collaboration with the Shenkar Institute for the Documentation and Research of Design and the Israel Museum, the exhibition will be curated by his daughter, Galit Gaon and design and curator Yuval Saar. To honour him, five designers will create homages that reflect upon some of Gaon’s most influential exhibitions.


For media enquiries, please contact Jacob Peres Office: Kate Doron, For a complete list of this year’s programmes, please go to

Jerusalem Design Week (June 8th – 15th) Opening Hours
Sunday through Thursday: 12:00 – 22:00 Friday: 10:00 – 16:00
Saturday: 10:00-22:00

Notes to the Editor

About Jerusalem Design Week

Jerusalem Design Week is a thematic, cultural, content-based, public and free event set out to strengthen Israeli forward-thinking design, and its relations to the global design community. By creating unique ties and collaboration with institutions and partners from around the world, Jerusalem Design Week focuses on extending the dialogue on issues both unique to Jerusalem as well as globally, with a strong emphasis on the social aspects of design and its possibility to influence both identity and community.

About Hansen House - Center for Design, Media and Technology

Originally built in 1887 by German architect Conrad Schick, the Hansen House functioned as a hospital to treat those afflicted with leprosy until it was sold in 1950 to the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael). Under the new management of the Ministry of Health of the State of Israel, the Hansen House was renamed the Hansen Government Hospital and continued to be operational until the year 2000. In the near-decade that followed, the Hospital gradually became a place where artists created their art as well as hosted exhibitions and shows. In 2009, Jerusalem municipality requested to repurpose the Hansen compound and re-establish it as a new culture center.

In 2011, the Hansen House began its transformation and renovation into what it is today, a design, media and technology cultural center where research & development and public activities could take place. The conversion was headed by the Jerusalem Development Authority, Ran Wolf Urban Planning and Project Management.

About Jerusalem Development Authority

The Jerusalem Development Authority, established 1988, is a statutory corporation that promotes and generates plans for the development of the city, aiming to strengthen its economy and make significant changes regarding entrepreneurship, professionalism and creativity. In addition to elevating Jerusalem as a pluralistic and international city, the Jerusalem Development Authority coordinates between government offices, authoritative bodies as well as both the private and public sectors taking the necessary steps to ensure a high quality of life for its residents.

About Anat Safran

Born in Tel Aviv, the designer, curator and artistic director graduated from Ecole supérieure des arts décoratifs de Strasbourg, France with a degree in art.

Safran is the creator and artistic director of PechaKucha Tel Aviv – one of Tel Aviv’s leading events for art and culture, and of the “Rafsoda” Project – a transient pop-up shop started in 2011 showcasing the innovative work of young Israeli designers which now has permanent locations in Paris and Tokyo. She is also co-curator of the upcoming Sound Waves exhibition at Israel’s Design Museum Holon.

Safran, a member of the Arts Council of the Israel State Lottery, is also a published writer, having been featured in various magazines, newspapers and blogs in Israel and abroad.

About Tal Erez

Tal Erez is a designer, researcher and curator who explores issues of political change, institutional critique, and contemporary forms of resistance. Erez’s research methodology encompasses both the production of objects and text: situated between theory and praxis. With his studio titled "Design Related", Tal has exhibited internationally with the Israeli pavilion exhibition at the Venice architecture biennale (Aircraft Carrier, 2012-13), Droog Design(Design for download, 2011, 2013), Z33, House for contemporary art and design (The Machine, 2012; Design beyond production, 2013), and La Terrasse (2015-16) amongst others. Tal is currently a research fellow at Het Nieuwe Instituut (NL), and was the curator of the exhibition Plastic: Promises of a Home Made Future which ran in Rotterdam January- April 2015. Since 2016, Tal functions as chief curator for the international Jerusalem Design Week.

Tal holds degrees from the Holon Institute of Technology (IL) and the Design Academy Eindhoven (NL, Cum Laude). He teaches at the Bezalel Academy’s Design Master's programme in Jerusalem, and is co-founder and team member of the research unit "24/7" at Bezalel school of Architecture. 

Jacob Peres Office