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Design Museum by Ron Arad,

Holon, Israel, 2010


The idea of design appears to be a very personal, or
rather a controversial and abstract thought that varies
according to different individuals. Considering this, Israels
Design Museum in Holon, Architecture of which was created
by Ron Arad and finished in 2010, is an example of making
thoughts a reality; both the internal and external structure
portray the idea of design, yet notion that is perceived
and realised in two different ways. The museum in itself
performs an unusual and intricate work of creating a
visualisation of such an abstruse thing as design. The
second aspect of the Museum is the actual sheltering of
design, the building itself and its architecture.
The background of minimalist, modern and post-modern
movements played a major role in Artists perceptions, the
elimination of colour for exteriors and simplification of
forms was very essential during the late thirties and
Figure 1. Design Museum, Inside Backyard,
continued up till today fading and brightening up. Twentieth
Ron Arad, Holon, 2010
century architecture is rarely associated with coloured
building exteriors. Contemporary architecture, on contrast, finds the roads to colours, without
abandoning the idea of simplicity. Today such philosophy is called the Colour Craftsmanship,
the value and meaning of colour had changed up till now, during the Post- Modernist
movement colours were very often equal to provocations, in our days it is used to evoke a
mood.
Ron Arads design respects the materials that are used, the incorporation of the whole
museum with the surroundings and mainly the cultural aspect of Israel. The architecture of
the building is authentically sculptural, however despite being aesthetically pleasing, the five
banded ribbons that wrap around all the museum are functioning as a structural support.

Figure 2, 3. On the left - Presentation Material for the Design Museum, Holon, Ron Arad, 2010
On the right Design Museum as seen from the Plaza, Holon, Ron Arad, 2010

The ribbons also hide the box-like gallery spaces, which are on two levels, and perform
circulation route function as curved lines lead the viewers to go inside and allures to
discover other spaces of the museum. Ron Arad was always fascinated by the metal work,
in fact he tries to avoid the separation between industrial design, one-off pieces, architecture
and architectural installation Antonelli (2009).
Being true to the material is another aspect in design, Ron Arad was looking forward into
eliminating the use of paints that would flake away in time, thus this will destroy the initial
texture and character of the material. The use of COR-TEN steel, the texture of which was
rusted beforehand, in other words the weathered steel, is an innovative way of how to avoid
using paints on metal and show the respect to the natural colours. The shades of COR-TEN
steel, allowed the designer to play around with dynamism, vividness and achieve balance
between them by just keeping his design closer to nature.
The museum is situated in an open spaced public plaza, which introduced the museum well
to the public. The topography of the space creates a lowland with flat terrain, and becomes
a placement site for the museum, making up an almost invisible balance with the geology
of Israeli desert parallely mimicking and mirroring the idea of the desert into the posture
and visual representation of the building.
The design museum is undoubtedly a
functional exhibition space that is also the
epicentre of artistry and design in Israel. The
museum became culturally significant for
contemporary artists, designers and the
society overall as it constantly upgrades,
renovates and rejuvenates its resources. The
understanding of design and what it means in
our lives is communicated to the public. As
Turner (2009) claimed the archive will be an
Figure 4. Vitra Design Museum, East Side view, F. O.
interactive environment for in-depth research Gehry, Weil am Rheim, 1989
on design, from concepts and materials to
execution and trends. The exposure of compelling information about design works well as
an educational process and source of inspiration for the designers of today.
Going back to the history, design museums are usually a challenge to carry out, given the
fact that there are only a few such museums in the world. Vitra Design Museum (Figure 4.),
founded in 1989 in Weil am Rheim, architecture of which constructed by Frank O. Gehry,
shows the connection with the purpose of the museum, together with its outer appearance.
The sculptural design of Vitra Design Museum although stylistically different to Ron Arads
design, shows that design is housed in something rather unconventional, very standing out
architecture.

Ron Arad was criticised for having copied the


design of the installation the Matter of Time
by Richard Serra (Figure 5.). We find the
similarity in both the use of COR-TEN steel,
the form of curvatures and the idea of
wrapping around sheets of metal. Despite this,
we may point out the differences between two
works, the curvatures present in the Design
Museum is linked to the idea of having same
slopes and plateaus in the Israeli desert, rather
than to mimic other ideas like snake form in
Figure 5. The Matter of Time, Installation, Richard Serra,
case of the installation that consists of many
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, 1997
other works produced by the same sculptor.
To add to the previous point, the museum pays respect to the culture mainly, and has an
aesthetical and metal function that is to educate, to inspire and to convey new ideas to
the public.
While accommodating two main galleries, the museum imparts the thought of absence of
natural light, as to having no windows. It allows displaying objects that are extended in
space. The smaller gallery, however offer high ceilings and a more confidential communication
with the viewers. The creation of the first design museum in the region is the pinnacle of
a long-term urban re-generation project which brings the discussion and exploration of
design, culture and education to the forefront, said Hertsman (n.d.), the municipality's
managing director before the inauguration of the museum.
Ultimately, the first Design Museum in Israel had become an important site for the community
of Israel and for the world around. Its sculptural architecture, incorporates both the history
of past artists, works, styles and the country that abodes it. Simple enough to be understood
by many age groups, close enough to nature to be able to integrate into the environment,
educative and innovative enough for future generations to look up to. As follows, the museum
is an absolute functioning place that meets the balance between art, history, design,
contemporary movements, values and meanings that are present in Israel and the world.

Reference List
Antonelli, P (2009). Ron Arad: No Discipline. New York: The Museum of Modern Art. p10-19.
Pile, J and Gura, J (2014). A History of Interior Design . 4th ed. New Jersey: John Wiley &
Sons, Inc. p450-451.
Turner, B. (2009). Design Museum Holon by Ron Arad Architects . Available:
http://www.dezeen.com/2009/09/24/design-museum-holon-by-ron-arad-architects/. Last
accessed 29th Nov 2014.
Anon. (2010). Design Museum Holon / Ron Arad Architects. Available:
http://www.archdaily.com/87173/design-museum-holon-ron-arad-architects/. Last accessed
29th Nov 2014.
Anon. (n.d.). Vitra Design Museum. Available:
http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Vitra_Design_Museum.html. Last accessed 29th Nov
2014.
Anon. (n.d.). Richard Serra, b. 1938, San Francisco, California. Available:
http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/collections/collection-online/artists/bios/1377. Last
accessed 28th Nov 2014.