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A Research Design Collection. Dor Kedmi

A Research Design Collection

Yaacov Kaufman

A collection of 90 non-functional bows, created since March 2020

March 1, 2021 – June 5, 2022


Yaacov Kaufman (b. 1945) is a designer-researcher/researcher-designer who developed a unique creative research methodology on a worldwide scale. Hundreds and thousands of products created as the outcome of consistent, continuous and intense action have all been gathered together into groups of test cases, developing series, and typological families.

Photo: Dor Kedmi

The designer-researcher creates the collections himself, as if he were writing objects: he thinks, argues, and selects – not verbally, but through technologies and materials. The purpose was not for the creation of a product, but for inquiry and in-depth learning. Instead of a page – wood, metal, fabric, plastic; instead of writing – drawing, sawing, carving, bending, sanding, jointing. Kaufman has been working for years, studying subjects, objects, and concepts – among them, the stool, circle, figurine, and rattle, through the use of tools, skills of craft and handwork.

As an industrial designer who habitually makes a large quantity of models to arrive at the final product, every research leaves in its wake hundreds of similar archetypes, because all of them originated from the same definition, yet they are unalike, each one a different representation of at definition. Every collection is an index of the references embodying the wide-branching links between the items which are often interdependent for their definition and creation of meaning. This is a practice reserved for dedicated single-minded individuals who always keep the thread of an idea in the back of their head “for a rainy day,” as Kaufman described it. Research and data-gathering as knowledge production is the “daily bread” of designers and inherent to their work processes. To some extent, Kaufman’s oeuvre represents a new shift in the field of design that has intensified over the past two decades, with increasing parallels between practical and theoretical research, and greater recognition of the value of experimental design processes in material and form.

Photo: Elad Sarig

On display is a collection of 60 non-functional bows, created since March 2020. It was then that life underwent radical change: Kaufman was forced to replace his studio with his home space, and instead of his raw materials, he had to use items he found in his neighborhood supermarket. A package of bamboo skewers he purchased led him to engage in the bow – an object which as a young boy he used to make for games from whatever he could find. The classical archetype of a bow is a sophisticated structure built on the principle of tension and flexibility, comprising a flexible arc and a bowstring, a weapon with a glorious tradition and a past. This time, in contrast to his previous researches, Kaufman liberates the object from its original use. You are invited to tour the thicket of bows, to discover, identify, and lose yourselves in the mind of the designer-researcher and his collection of material insights.