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Benny Gam Zo Letova

Playing at Design Museum Holon

The exhibition seeks to present the ways in which young artists enable us to spread our wings and soar to the realms of imagination – to lands of unlimited possibilities

April 2014 – June 2014


Imagining Childhood Between Unlimited Possibilities and Impossible Limitations –  The exhibition, which opened Holon Design Week 2014, was presenting the work of Israeli designers who engage in children’s book illustration and designing outdoor games and playgrounds.

Playgrounds in Israel, photo courtesy of the Benny Rosen collection

Realms of imagination designed by Israeli illustrators and planners – a look into contemporary children’s books, and beyond to the playgrounds that have disappeared. Twenty-four illustrated children’s books reflecting a rich world of extraordinary endeavor and seven sensory playground challenges will be presented in light of the development of playgrounds and their disappearance from the urban landscape.

The exhibition seeks to present the ways in which young artists enable us to spread our wings and soar to the realms of imagination – to lands of unlimited possibilities. Whether reading a book with illustrations or sitting on a swing in the playground, a wonderful opportunity is presented to journey to realms of imagination. This journey is made possible when it is meticulously designed by planners, designers, illustrators, and architects who focus on childhood and playfulness as uncompromising values.

The exhibition explores two fields in which designers for children operate: contemporary illustration, and playgrounds.

The illustrations of some twenty-four contemporary children’s books will be displayed in the Lower Gallery. Original illustrations alongside sketches, reproductions, and drawings, texts from interviews with the illustrators, and a single frame in which each illustrator has been asked to present the work of an Israeli illustrator who inspires them. Illustrators include Rutu Modan, Orit Bergman, Aya Gordon Noy, Batya Kolton, David Polonsky, Naama Benziman, Ofra Amit, Aviel Basil, and Gilad Seliktar. 

Photo: Benny Gam Zo Letova

In the space of the Upper Gallery we seek to trace the development of playgrounds – where they began, and what attended them as they evolved from public parks, through fenced areas, to adventure spaces. We will describe urban playing spaces from their inception sometime between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to the present day, the beginning of the twenty-first century, by means of a map presenting a taste of the great wealth that exists in playgrounds. Concurrently, by changing the physical space of the gallery, we invite visitors to a series of focused experiences, points to ponder with reference to the concept of play, and its importance and significance for children and adults alike.

“In the Upper Gallery we seek to reawaken in visitors the question concerning the fate of playgrounds”, says Galit Gaon. “Why and when did they change in Israel from a place of adventure to a collection of ‘apparatuses’? What should we, designers, planners, parents, and decision makers in Israel, do in order to restore playgrounds to their appropriate place – as a wonderful, imaginative alternative for older and younger children, and parents and children to play together. This exhibition is a call for a candid discussion on our place, on the right to dream, the freedom to experiment and experience, the opportunity to play, and on the alternative of growing up happy. Hana Hertsman once said: ‘Design is an opportunity to learn to choose well’. In this exhibition we invite visitors, designers, city planners and mayors, municipal engineers and safety consultants, parents and educators, young and old alike, to return to the magic of playgrounds for a while and to choose well”.

In the design lab you can find The DrawBox Project – a new interactive project created by the Interaction Lab at the Holon Institute of Technology as part of Design Week Holon. In the project, two identical workstations are positioned at Design Museum Holon and Design Museum London. The workstations will enable visitors in Holon and London to concurrently share a virtual world. 

Next to the DrawBox project in the Design Lab, a new project by designer Itay Ohaly is presented: “While thinking about a project for ‘Playing at Design Museum Holon’ exhibition, I went back in time to my kindergarten days and childhood memories. I tried to remember my first drawings and creations, the first material I used and the techniques I learned back then.”

The exhibition will be held as part of Design Week Holon 2014