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Designer, Sculptor & Overall Artistic Genius: Omer ArbelSunday 2 June 2019
Today CovetED brings to you one of many top professionals from the design industry – Omer Arbel. For those who are not yet familiar with this name, Omer Arbel is a designer and sculptor based in Vancouver and Berlin. He is known for his work in materials research, ambient lighting design, house design, as well as for being the creative director at Bocci, a Canadian manufacturing and design company. Today we will revisit some highlights from his career, so please do tag along as we present to you the result of Omer’s genius.
Omer Arbel was born in 1976 and ever since the beginning of his career he has numbered his designs in order of creation. Some have commercial potential and moved into production – such as nº 14, 16, 22, 28,73 – while others have remained as conceptual or collectible designs – such as nº 2.4, 30, 41, and 71.
One of Arbel’s first designs to emerge from that rooftop studio was the 2.4 chair. The chair is composed of approximately 50 layers of coloured resin. Each layer could only be poured during a 15-minute window once every 3.5 hours, amounting to 175 hours of work per chair and many sleepless nights. Given the labor-intensive nature of the 2.4 chair, it was never moved into production; only twenty were made and they reside in private collections and museums around the world.
Arbel’s experiments often remain conceptual, but he has had some notable commercial success, particularly with glass and lighting design. Arbel’s first design to move into production was 14, the basis of which is an illuminated cast-glass sphere with a certain optical quality. The 14 collection was created with an ambient presence as a way to highlight the volume of a room and challenge the traditional role of a chandelier as a static centerpiece. 14 helped launch Bocci and Arbel’s design practice OAO in 2005 and remains a bestseller.
Bocci’s success as a company allowed Arbel to move several more designs into production, notably 22 and 28. 22 is a collection of electrical accessories designed without the visual disruption of a cover plate, allowing outlets and switches to sit flush with their surroundings. Arbel was awarded a Red Dot Award and a Yellow Pencil yearbook entry at the D&AD awards in 2009 for 22. 28 is a hand-blown glass pendant with interior glass satellites that is available in a multitude of colours. It is created through a complicated technique that involves adding and removing air while heating and cooling a glass matrix. It is emblematic of Arbel’s search for “specificity in manufacturing,” essentially designing a system that produces form rather than designing the form itself. Arbel received an iF product design award and the Best of Year Award from Interior Design Magazine in 2011 for 28.
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