Upon entering the MUSA Museum in Tel Aviv, visitors are confronted with a life-size, highly polished, stainless-steel igloo, reflecting its desert-like surroundings. This is the response of Ronen Bavly, founder of Magenta Workshop, to the theme ‘First Person. Second Nature’ set out by The Tel Aviv Craft and Design Biennale. Bavly juxtaposes the archetypical structure invented centuries ago by the Eskimos as a means to survive the extreme weather in a new context; commenting on human interaction with nature.
e-gloo reflects and replicates the local landscape, and distorts its surroundings, blinding and warming the viewers, while echoing vanishing traditions and melting glaciers; humorously pointing out the dystopian consequences yet to affect our planet.
Curated by a team of Israel’s top design professionals, the Biennale presents a challenging perspective on material creation, expanding and highlighting the cultural, social, and visual dialogue between art, craft, and design. The connections created between past, present and future partake in the continually evolving narrative of local material culture.
Magenta Workshop is a product design and manufacture studio based in Israel. The studio was established by Ronen Bavly in 1992 and employs craftsman, product and graphic designers, all working in collaboration. This particular synergy creates a dynamic and surprising development processes.
The Biennale brings together different manifestations of contemporary craft and design in Israel. Its interdisciplinary approach seeks to blur the boundaries between disciplines and undermine existing hierarchies. Its point of departure is matter as a form of cultural expression, and as a physical, virtual, or metaphorical presence; concerns that form a natural continuation of the museum’s ongoing focus on local material culture.
The e-gloo was meticulously constructed by hand while using a complex mathematical computation to recreate the classical, clean form of the traditional structure. Sealed like a burial structure, the reflective stainless-steel building raises questions about the role of humans in the world and their responsibility to nature. Unlike a traditional igloo, which when no longer in use, dissolves into a puddle of water, e-gloo is a memorial monument to simpler times.
location: MUSA, The Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel
date: May 2020 – February 2021
photography: Dor Kedmi