Israeli design – is there such a style ?
Styles and fashions come and go; each period with its own style.
We can easily distinguish between traditional Dutch clothing and Spanish garments. Telling which is Indian music and which is an Irish melody is no effort. And the difference between a Gothic cathedral and a Spanish villa is visible even to an untrained eye.
Often enough a question arises: Is there such a thing as Israeli design ? And if so, what is this type of design ?
After all, we live in an 'ingathering of exiles' – a melting pot of traditions. Eastern Europe folk dances together with Middle Eastern falafel and hummus.
The truth is that there is no actual and accurate definition of what Israeli design is, and there is no scientific or academic concept that explains what Israeli architecture is.
I conducted a non-academic survey, and asked people what is Israeli design in their opinion. I obtained various answers, some of them come from a very emotional place, their personal taste and childhood memories of the good old Land of Israel; and some have a more professional and rational take that considers the cities and houses in which we live.
Hence the architecture that developed over time in Israel is a fusion of many things which created an eclectic look combining the old and the new; rustic style and modern design; personal taste and latest fashion; IKEA furniture together with items passed on from your grandparents.
Does Israeli Archtecture Exist ?
As far as I'm concerned, 'Israeliness' is a kind of local 'chutzpah' (audacity) with a Mediterranean temperament and a touch of European aromas for the atmosphere. The houses in which we live reflect this position, and I, as an architect, plan and design them.
In my survey, most people defined the Jerusalem style as local Israeli architecture. Some mentioned Bauhaus and Arab stone houses as local styles.
To me, Israeli architecture is the integration of the structure and its design with its natural surroundings. The community's or town's nature and the topography of the land greatly influence the planning and design of a house.
In addition, the design integrates local materials such as basalt stone in the Golan Heights or calcareous sandstone in the coastal plain.
In terms of building style, it is undoubtedly an original connection of different styles that affect the design of a home.
In the construction of a private house we see more and more interesting combinations of rural building styles together with clean, minimalist modern designs, using complementary elements such as oriental Mashrabiyas (latticework), arches or pergolas reminiscent of a vine gazebo.
Interestingly enough, even contractors' construction, despite it being considered as following a predetermined pattern, is also attempting to create a local style with its modern, clear and simple, clean line cubes. An element that is very straight forward, loud and clear, and very much Israeli.