While these days he lives in London, Ron Arad—the world-renowned industrial designer, artist, and architect whose work spans everything from jewelry to what will soon become Israel’s tallest tower—rarely stays away from his birthplace of Tel Aviv for long. The master of modern design takes us inside his hometown.
How would you describe Tel Aviv?
There are two types of cities: There’s the city you go to, and you meet the locals, and they apologize, saying, “Oh, of course, it’s not like London.” And then there are places where people enjoy their city and they just want to share it with you. Tel Aviv is that second type of city.
There’s a phrase in Hebrew—Yihiye B’seder—that means “It will be okay.” Tel Aviv is in a bit of an optimistic bubble. The Middle East is not a very, shall I say, peaceful place. But in Tel Aviv, it’s very easy to go to nice galleries and sit in lovely cafés and meet wonderful people, almost forgetting that not far from there, things aren’t quite sorted out.
Where do you go to meet those wonderful people?
There’s an amazing new complex called Romano that used to be a market for fabrics and things. [Chef] Eyal Shani took it over and turned it into a place that’s thriving. I don’t know how the people who hang out there go to work the next morning.
What’s your go-to cocktail spot?
One of my favorite bars is called Lucifer. You sit in the bar, and there are three screens with cameras that show you what’s happening randomly on the street outside. It’s like watching an aquarium.
Which galleries are on your short list?
Dvir Gallery, Sommer Contemporary Art, the Alon Segev Gallery, and the Chelouche Gallery are all must-visit galleries. And, of course, Gordon Gallery, where I had my last show in Israel. Actually, it was also my first gallery show in Tel Aviv. . .
Where do you go for an escape?
The Montefiore Hotel is my favorite hotel in the world. When you go there, they don’t ask you for your passport or credit card. They say, “Hi. Good to see you.”