Nov 28, 2014

Peek-a-Boo: Coffee Lovers Jewelry Exhibit in Tel Aviv

Maya Alma Vidan
A bracelet inspired by a cup of coffee and the coffee shop atmosphere. Brass (metalsmithing)

Aren't we all, coffee lovers?

While visiting family in Tel Aviv, I visited an exhibit of stunning new jewelry designed by young Israelis inspired by their love for coffee and coffee houses.

"Metalsmith Cafe" exhibit, curated by Galit Reshef, asked the graduates of the Silversmith Department to allow themselves to feel inspired by sitting in coffee shops, the food, the atmosphere and of course the beloved coffee bean itself. So much a part of the Israeli culture, and almost Parisian like in design and setting, the gathering and morning or evening breaks at the coffee shop are an inherent part of their daily life.

The result? 
Beautifully and skillfully designed bracelets to earrings, necklaces to brooches all intricately hand made by these talented artists and I am thrilled to be able to share them with you on the blog today.

Rings Inspired by Croissants - Smadar Shmueli
Wrapping dough triangles with a touch of soul creates the croissant, and a metal triangle with love and imagination can creare a variety of jewelry. Brass, Silver, Gold Plating (Wax Molding)

Shuli Cohen - Ring Inspired by Paper Cupcake Cups
Oxidized Silver 925 (Wax Molding)

"Tel Aviv’s coffee shops developed with the economic and cultural development of the city. In the second half of the 20th century, following the third and fourth aliyot, a considerable number of coffee shops opened in the then city center – Herzl Street  – designed for the bourgeoisie.  A European influence was obvious in all of them, however they differed a great deal from one another.
From the mid-20th century many coffee shops sprung up along the seashore, following the establishment of exclusive hotels.
These coffee shops were designed for rest and pleasure, and some held cabaret shows and shows by satirical theaters such as Af Al Pi, and Li La Lo. Some of them are still remembered as mythological sites that left a deep mark on the history of Tel Aviv, to mention only a few: Kassit, Vered, Pinati, Noga, Sheleg Levanon,Casino Galei Aviv, Ginati Yam, .."

Moshe Mental
Straight of the sack .. A bracelet made of coffee beans ready to be roasted, accompanied by coffee bean rings.
18K Gold Plated oxidized brass, burlap, fishing wire, leather, garnet

Galit Tzlnik - Bracelets inspried by coffee bars. Gold plated brass, black satin plated brass (Metalsmithing)

The 1930s and the early 1940s saw a “café revolution”.

Numerous cafés sprung up in the new north of Tel Aviv – Allenby, Ben Yehuda and Dizengoff Streets and brought with them a new type of pleasure that was manifested in a well-groomed and stylish appearance, sitting with ones face to the busy street, music and ballroom dance parties, a diverse menu and professional and high-class service.
The café owners took care to maintain an aesthetic façade and enlisted architects and designers to plan the locations. The tables were covered with tablecloths, the plates and cutlery were of superior quality. The menu included appetizing cake, cold and hot drinks and spirits, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
There offered different brands of coffee: Columbia, Brazil and Costa Rica, Turkish coffee, cocoa, milk shakes, cold coffee, “expresso” coffee, or mocha espresso.
Some of the coffee shops had their own character, a result of their habitués. Literary crowds, artists, lawyers, public figures, government and municipality officials, businessmen, journalists, emigrants from Germany, etc. 
In Ginati and Noga, the artist Reuven Rubin, the conductor Michael Taube, Dr. Yosef Pomruk, the writer Menasheh Levin, could regularly be found. From the 1960s California, and Pinati, Stern and Lev Aviv were the coffee shops frequented Bohemian clientelle, offering a kind of second home for writers, poets, painters and artists. 

Rachel Buzaglo
A bracelet and ring inspired by the rising steam from a cup of coffee.
Gold plated brass (metalsmithing)

Keren Merfon
A necklace inspired by a sack of coffee beans.
Gold plated brass, goldfield chain, burlap, embroidery thread

"A Cupcake Brooch" - Maayan Hartmann
Gold plated Brass, carinola, perspex

Idan Yitzchakian
A bracelet and ring inspired by coffee beans.
Beech wood, zircons, gold plated brass (metalsmithing)

"Disposable Spoons" - Racheli Eshel Arnon
Disposable spoons are a necessity in coffee shops. The original spoon is made of a simple material that I have made splendid.
24K gold plated silver, amethyst (wax molding)

Lastly, inspired by the Israeli chain Aroma Cafe, which so happens to be one of my go to places whenever I am in Soho (New York), this set of rings took color and style leads from their logo.

Anat Traum
"Coffee at Aroma"

Collection of nine rings composed of three color groups, matching the coffee chain's logo. The geometry of the rings is inspired by the logo's shape.
Colored Brass, 24K Gold plated silver (Metalsmithing, Wax Molding)

I could own each and every one of these pieces!
Hope you enjoyed my little tour through Tel Aviv, and come back soon for more on my design and travels!

*images: Jennifer Mehditash
*history of coffee shops: Eretz Museum

Nov 26, 2014

Peek-a-Boo: Discovering Oscar Niemeyer while Shopping for Art in Tel Aviv

TACTIC - High end designer clothing store in Kikar Hamemdina

Growing up, I spent many a summer in Tel Aviv visiting my father and family as I traveled with my sister back and forth from California.

Spending time in the city involved many days on the beach and at the pool of course, but also visiting one of the city's oldest and largest "Retail Roundabout" - Kikar Hamemdina. where I would stand in line to buy my school shoes with all the other children at this amazing children's shoe store at the time. Now gone, it is a childhood memory I hold dear as it was such a special treat.

A map of the Kikar Hamemdina.

Today,  the Kikar still remains the city’s largest plaza and is renowned as Israel’s most exclusive shopping area with events such as the first ever Fashion’s Night Out in 2012, it is a landmark for style and sophistication. 

Oscar Niemeyer in his earlier years - Photo by Eliyahu Kaminer

As I put together this post, I discover that the original circular design with a large park at its center, the uniform buildings are the work of eminent Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer! 

No wonder I have always liked being there. 

In 1964, Niemeyer was invited to Israel by Yekutiel Federman, CEO of the Dan hotel chain, to discuss potential projects but then a military coup broke out in Brazil and the short visit became six months. While in Israel, he learned that the new Brazilian regime had stripped him of his political rights and he became an outlaw overnight, wanted by the army and the police.

From his apartment in Tel Aviv Niemeyer reached out to his limited contacts in Israel, and began to partner with some prominent local architects such as Architect Abba Elhanani, who became his partner on several projects, including the proposal for the Nordia complex and the Kikar Hamedina.

A model of Kikar Hamedina, as envisioned by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. Photo by Yosef Meir

High end boutiques sit on the first floor of the residential buildings, which are lined along one circular street - He Be'Iyar Street (Israeli Independence Day Street), making it one of the most expensive and sought after areas in the city while still today remaining the ultimate destination for those seeking to enjoy an indulgent shopping experience in Tel-Aviv.

One of my favorites, and one of the first shops with European clothing is TACTIC.

While there, I came across an artist that the owner had found.
Her name, is Suly B. Wolff and this dark and moody nature inspired painting I found truly beautiful.

Learning a little more about her and her story, made me realize that we seem to be drawn to those with stories and lives like ours, don't you think?

Suly was born in Brazil with an natural talent to sketch from very young, and immigrated to Israel at 18. She became a primary school teacher at first and then went back to school to study Interior Design! With a strong design experience, in 2001 she began to dedicate herself entirely to painting drawing on her childhood experience in a tropical country with the strong juxtaposition of the urban environment she calls home for the past 30 years.

Suly and her art have traveled and seen in exhibits around the globe, including New York, India, Belgium, Israel and as part of the Florence Biennale among others since 2001.

From Suly's 2010 series, Night Paintings, this selection truly speaks to me with their dark backgrounds and almost luminescent foliage. 

Large in size and layered with detail and texture, the images don't do them justice as there is truly a multitude of tones that make up the "night sky" surrounding these trees that simply are too difficult to capture on film. 

More recent work, include these painting from the The Fifth Season and Eucalyptus series.

Hope you enjoyed this tour through the Kikar, and these paintings!

If you are interested in a little more background on Niemeyer, and his love of "woman" watch this video here:

I leave you today wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, and with a heartfelt THANK YOU + much gratitude for your loyalty and readership over the past few years as I have shared my stories and meanderings here on Dec-a-Porter.

I hope to be able to continue to bring you original and exciting new content over the next few years, whether from my new home in California, or as I go back to New York, or from wherever my design life leads me. I hope to see you all along the way.
~ Jennifer 

Nov 24, 2014

Peek-a-Boo: Tel Aviv at Night

A night on the town in Tel Aviv, included a fantastic meal at the recently opened Asian - Fusion restaurant Taizu.

"A new concept restaurant based on chef Yuval Ben Neriah’s personal interpretation of street foods of five countries in South East Asia – India, China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Renowned Israeli architect Pitsou Kedem partnered with Baranowitz-Amit Design Studio to design the space and to great success. The interior is rooted in two main themes with different areas and styles of dining, from the more formal to the more relaxed and casual seating area.

The five elements of ancient Chinese Philosophy (Fire, Water, Metal, Wood and Earth) and the culinary DNA of the menu and are faithfully represented in the interiors as well. 

Our dinner was sensational with plenty of great dishes that we all shared, and ended with this sinful chocolate cake..

On one of my last evenings, I was invited to a family friend's 50th birthday extravaganza - A Masquerade Ball, in an old abandoned building in the center of Old Jaffa. 
Talk about ambience!

As part of the invitation, we were all sent individual and unique masks .. 

Old Jaffa at night and location of the Masquerade Ball

The catering was incredible, with nothing left to chance. Poker and Blackjack tables, Bars, Fresh Sushi Bars and an assortment of after dinner drinks and sweets filled every room.

They filled the rooms with different seating areas, while one room was left as a dance floor, with DJ and famed Israeli pop sensation, Marina Maximilian Blumin. A classically trained pianist, musician and virtuoso singer, she was the runner up of the 5th season of Kokhav Nolad (Star is Born) and is regarded by some as a "once in a generation" phenomenon.

and the evening ended with a burlesque pole dancer, really very skilled, that left well.. lets say .. all the men in the crowd were thrilled!

A little more on my visit to Tel Aviv coming up on the blog this week with a little retail therapy and a fantastic artist and jewelry exhibit.

Nov 22, 2014

Peek-a-Boo: Tel Aviv's New Sarona

Visiting Tel Aviv after nearly 6 years was truly amazing. The transformation of this cosmopolitan city in the heart of the Middle East blew me away!

A fantastic new development nearly at completion was the area of Sarona. Once under the control of the German Templars this area is now a bustling outdoor courtyard filled with health conscious restaurants and Brooklyn-esque style retail stores.

This video of the History of the area, and the importance it played during the creation of Israel as the Declaration was officially signed here, as Jerusalem was still not where the government had set up. Remnants from this time can be seen in some of the homes you tour.

"The Templars left their mark on the lay of the land
with their industrious and innovative nature."

The French chain - FAUCHON - is opening its doors in the new outdoor fruit and vegetable market opening next summer.

Nestled between the newly completed high rises surrounding the old and original Templar homes, this area is a very much desired new neighborhood leading the way as a shining example in real estate development for this city. 

We took a tour of one of the main homes, painstakingly restored over nearly 12 years and with teams of European engineers brought in to help.

It was very special to be able to spend time with family and friends and enjoy these beautiful sights together.

Come back for my next post with shots from a few fun nights out in Old Jaffa at a Masquerade Ball, dinner at a new age fusion restaurant and more from Israel.

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