Tourist tip #172 / The Holon Design Museum
The museum building itself is a tribute to beauty and functionality.
Holon is famous for the Holon Children’s Museum and annual Purim street carnival, the Adloyada. But since 2010, it has another claim to fame: the cutting-edge Holon Design Museum.
The museum itself is housed in an extraordinary, sweeping edifice created by Ron Arad. The building is made up of red, brown, and orange bands of Weathering Steel (Cor-Ten) which surge and meander their way in, out and around the museum’s internal structural, overlapping and creating an Escher-esque sense of depth.
The notion of creating and exploiting the tension between an internal arrangement of efficient box-like spaces and the dynamic and curvaceous external envelop is the guiding design principle for the entire museum, explain Arad and his design partner for the building, Bruno Asa.
Inside are two staggered levels of galleries with changing exhibits. The galleries are connected by a ramp, which is the main circulation route in the building, taking visitors between galleries and floors. The upshot is a cave-like environment opening up to large, bright open spaces that house the artwork.
Currently the Lower Gallery, on the main floor, is showing two separate, but related, exhibits. On its walls, the rise of the Israeli textile industry is mapped out with explanations and visual examples of the Fourth Aliyah (or “Textile Aliya”), tying Israel’s design history to the wave of immigration from Eastern Europe in the 1920s.
Viewers are free to wander through in a non-linear manner, or follow the trajectory established by the curators to learn about the initiative undertaken by artisans and industrialists.
The center of the gallery is devoted to post- World War II objects, from 1945 to 1989. The objective is to show that Eastern European designers under Communism did not significantly differ from their Western European counterparts. A diverse arrangement of chairs, floor lamps, radios, and television sets recreate the creative interiors of times past.
Walking up the ramp but before reaching the stairs to the Upper Gallery, are three television screens showing TED.com talks. Here, you can take a moment to sit on the cushions provided and watch an engaging lecture for a few minutes.
In the Upper Gallery, the exhibit "Common Roots: Design Map of Central Europe" features the unique design landscape from several Central European countries. Forty years after the end of World War II, the exhibit explains, there was a rebirth of a distinct Central European culture, which today is referred to as "post-Communist". The common roots of Central Europe and Eastern and Western Europe is explored, specifically the influence and fall of Communism in the 1990s and the emergence of the European Union in 2004. Here you can again see functional works of interior art, such as a throne-like chair made of bamboo and a wooden desk with legs that function as a bookcase, where your personal library is visible through the glass surface.
Visiting the museum on a sunny day is the most rewarding, since the architectural uniqueness of Ron Arad’s vision is most visible when the sun shines through the windows.
Starting in March, 2013, the exhibit “Lady of the Daisies: A Tribute to Lea Gottlieb” will give visitors an in-depth view of the work of the famous fashion designer, who initiated a leading and innovative area of fashion in Israel’s textile industry. The historical portion will be curated by fashion researcher Ayala Raz.
Although extremely informative, tourists who don’t speak Hebrew may have a harder time understanding the significance of each artwork, since most of the informative plaques are only in Hebrew. Bring a Hebrew speaking friend or tour the museum with an audiovisual guide.
The museum sports a shop and is connected to a small cafe.
Mondays and Wednesdays - 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Tuesday and Thursday - 10:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.
Friday 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M
Saturday 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
The museum is closed on Sundays. It is wheelchair-accessible with ramps and elevators.
Tickets can be purchased at the Museum box office located in the kiosk just outside the main entrance, in person or by phone.
Pinhas Eilon St. 8, Holon, Tel. 03-215-1515; Box Office 03-215-1500; email email@example.com.
For more information and admission fees, check their website.