experience Judaica design with your eyes and your touch

Recently a blind friend of ours came over for a visit. Out of force of habit he reached his hand in order to kiss the Mezuzah and was amazed:  “What’s that beautiful thing?”

It was a ceramic mezuzah case, of our Judaica  design  series inspired  by Origami. He asked us to pack some mezuzahs, one for each door in his newly renovated apartment, this was one of the most special  and surprising compliments  we got in more than 10 years we design  contemporary  Judaica. Our friend, Avichay shelly, talks regularly about his life story and about believing  in willpower. He works in the financial market, did his IDF service in the intelligence  division (Modiin)  and is a former winner of the International  Bible contest.

geometrici-mezuzot-colors-01

The case of the Mezuzah  design  and Avichay has caused us to stop for a moment  and think, who are we designing  for and what senses  are we aiming for? This story highlights the idea that design can be perceived  by all of our senses.

This is interesting, when we talk about designing products for people with special  needs or handicapped  people we tend to think about useful and technical  aids, which  aren’t necessarily  refined or beautiful.  This story poses the question -How can one design a product that causes esthetic pleasure to everyone,  even to people who can’t see, or to people who can ‘see differently’, as Avichay proclaims.

Zelig Segal - 'to touch the light'

Zelig Segal – ‘to touch the light’

Zelig segal is a great  artist and inspiring  silversmith  who designs  contemporary Judaica. He has designed some exemplary Menorahs, but in this context we remember his work “To Touch the Light” as providing a direct artistic experience for people who can not see. Segal wrote:

(This statement is a transcript from the artist’s statement at The Adi Foundation’s website. Segal’s work of art has won the Adi Prize for Jewish Expression in Art and

Design for the year 2003)

Mezuzah case design

Mezuzah case design

“In my work, I wanted to explore the absence of light in the world of the blind person and I wanted to bring him into contact, via touch, with the concept of light. I designed and sculpted six letters in Braille that comprise the words from the verse above; yehi or (let there be light)… The connection between light and matter and the connection between the blind individual’s touching of the letters in relief, bring the blind person and us close to the abstract world, to wisdom, to understanding and to knowledge – light via contrast and touch”.

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