Design Museum Holon’s newest exhibition opens on the 20th of December 2016. Overview engages with one of the most important inventions in human history, and a desirable design object: eyeglasses. The exhibition follows the development and future of eyeglasses through several different points of view: from the unique Claude Samuel retrospective eyeglasses collection dating back to the 17th century to contemporary conceptual interpretations of eyeglasses by 50 Israeli designers highlighting the creative energy of the Israeli design scene. In addition, the exhibition explores the new Virtual Reality (VR) technology, as well as the different ways sight and design can interact through various activities.
On the ground floor in Dr. Shulamit Katzman Gallery, Design Museum Holon presents more than 40 commissioned works by Israeli designers from a variety of backgrounds, including fashion, textile, jewellery and product design to answer the question: “What are eyeglasses?” This part of the exhibition demonstrates the transformational nature of this design object through Israeli designers’ myriad of interpretations, compelling visitors to engage and question the themes of vision and self-image. For example, renowned Israeli product designer Yaacov Kaufman explores the evolution of eyeglasses from monocle to mask, presenting it in a striking comparison to human evolution. Dana Ben Shalom, in contrast, delves into the relationship between glasses and the nose, whilst Galit Shvo reinterprets how glasses can be worn and their subsequent connection to the face.
In contrast to the modern interpretations of eyeglasses presented in the Lower Gallery, the Museum’s Upper Gallery (500 m2) showcases more than 400 items from collector Claude Samuel. A visual display of the history of eyewear, his extensive collection showcases the ways in which different cultural milestones actively influenced and were influenced by the invention and evolution of eyeglasses. Unique pieces ranging from Elton John and John Lennon style eyeglasses to authentic Eskimo bone eyewear are exhibited alongside sketches of eyewear designs made by Claude's father from the Pierre Cardin Fashion House, and more. This is the first time this collection is presented in a museum.
‘Vision Test’, part three of the exhibition, presents visitors with various objects from the Aharon Feiner Eden Materials Library that are also part of the Museum's permanent collection. These challenge the interaction between sight and design through interactive activities and optical illusions related to focus, colour and perspective. One example is Carnovsky Studio’s award winning RGB project, consisting of a large-scale multi-layered wallpaper, which projects different images depending on the colour of light illuminating the wall. This project was made possible through the support of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura and the Italian Embassy in Israel.
To complement the overall theme of the exhibition, Design Museum Holon's Design Lab engages in what the future of eyeglasses holds through an interactive display of Virtual Reality glasses in collaboration with The French Institute of Israel, Forum des Image and Holon Cinemateque. The Lab also features a “repairing reality” workshop dedicated to repairing and renewing eyeglasses, where visitors can bring in their old glasses and refurbish them in their own style. In addition, through an exclusive application created for the exhibition and a web camera incorporated into a big mirror screen, visitors are able to look at a projected image of themselves wearing different eyeglasses from the Claude Samuel collection and share the captured images on social media.
“Engaging with eyeglasses, such a common and everyday object, can be carried out from so many angles, but we have chosen to engage with it from the perspective of the person using the object. In the exhibition we will examine cultural milestones and the central role eyeglasses played in defining social and cultural phenomena. We tend to forget that the initial purpose of eyeglasses was to correct a flaw, and eyeglasses do not conceal that flaw, but actually emphasise it by means of design. The exhibition will not only enable an observation of the cultural history of eyeglasses, but also of the designer's role throughout the process,” Maya Dvash, Exhibition Curator and Museum's Acting Chief Curator.
About Design Museum Holon
Designed by world-renowned architect Ron Arad, Design Museum Holon was inaugurated in March 2010 and has quickly established itself as one of the most exciting developments to emerge in the Middle East. The Museum is part of an urban regeneration initiative that aims to transform the City of Holon into a centre for design. Central to Design Museum Holon’s mission is to supply an enriching and thought-provoking environment for visitors to explore exciting and engaging design ideas, principles, processes and objects in a tactile and practical fashion. www.dmh.org.il
Photos Silvia Golan