A Charming artistic loft in Tel Aviv, Israel
Industrial designer Alon Razgour works and lives in a beautiful studio in South Tel Aviv
The Noga neighborhood in south Tel Aviv is becoming lately the trendiest area of the city. Artists, designers and other young professionals have discovered the charm which characterizes these small streets, and have started to open studios and small shops here. Like similar neighborhoods around the world, such as Soho in NYC, the area which until not long ago, consisted solely of small industrial workshops, is clearly becoming one of the trendiest most desirable neighborhoods in town.
About 4 years ago, industrial designer Alon Razgour has moved its studio to the Noga neighborhood. It is located in a former ammunition warehouse that belonged to the Israeli military back in the 1970´s. The exposed brick walls inside still carry some of the original safety instructions like "No smoking" and "In case of fire take away the ammunition", that are still printed directly on them. The space is located on the street level led to by an iron door; reminisce of its original purpose.
"The real -estate agent that took me to see the property said that she has a ´cave´ to show me and brought me here", says Razgour. "It took me only a second to decide that this is the place for me. It was empty but I´ve noticed its good proportions that were hidden underneath all the layers that accumulated over the years"
Instead of trying to blur the past, Alon has decided to surrender to the space´s characteristics and to create interesting compositions. Alongside the industrial materials that characterize the space, the feature that stands out to the visitor, is its height- 6 meters- that allows for a gallery to be built and underneath it, a spacious work area, something that is very rare in urban residences.
The interior design has an industrial, rough appeal. The floor is made of unpolished cement cracked with age to create a dark pattern all over it. The walls are made of regular white building blocks and white silicate tiles.
"My first interior design decisions had to do with dividing the space into different areas without erecting additional walls"´ remembers Alon. "The kitchen, work, living, sleep and storage areas were defined by using furniture or by building light and floating partitions made of wood or acrylic.
The decision to situate the kitchen at the far end of the space was determined by the location of the piping systems of the building. This was also part of the desire to use the existing infrastructure and the available resources, as well as the desire to save money.
The kitchen was built around a central wooden cabinet designed by Razgour, which separates the work and sink area from a rounded sitting area that acts also as a dining area.
The drawers of the chest open to both sides which make it a very useful piece of furniture. An oversized white sink with a bent aluminum faucet designed also by Razgour were both put on an original vintage table from the 1940´s-50´s that was bought in a liquidation sale "I´ve purchased 2 tables about 10 years ago. The second table is used as my desk" says Alon. "
The working area walls were divided in two, using different colors: the lower part of the wall was painted white, whereas the upper part was painted grey."You can divide a space not only by building walls" explains Razgour. A nice plant or a picture can do the same thing .In this case, using color provided focal as well as divided the space. Also, a set of tall bookshelves that is located on one side of the room, with aluminum decorative objects designed by Razgour, in various colors and shapes serves as an imagery divider between the spaces. "Some of my works as a product designer are very polished and function as jewels in the space. It was important for me to define a separate place for them so they will be integrated harmoniously with its rough characteristics" he says.
Right by the bookcase is the living room- a grey sofa bed that can be opened into a double bed and an elongated and narrow coffee table made of cement, designed also by Razgour. The table is made of grey interlocking cement cubes, which create an uneven gradual surface. "Furniture is known to affect one´s behavior and dictate a certain conduct towards it" explains Alon.
"This table, for instance calls for the use of small objects, like a glass of wine or small plates. It is better suited for elegant Tapas plates rather than big bowls of food.
Above the sofa Alon hung on the wall a decorative object that was designed by him- a black metal chair frame that was found in the street and became a work of art when compressed into a flat shape.
Across from the sofa, there´s a deep and short niche in the pass underneath the building´s major staircase. Razgour had decided to turn this 1.70 meters high area into storage, using a wooden floating wall framed with an iron frame. It partially hides the niche and gives a feeling of a larger space behind it. This wood partition turned into installation when Alon put on top of it an old ,Baroque style sofa which he found on the street. "I found this sofa on the street and I just couldn´t leave it there. I´ve decided to give it its proper respect and placed it like a crown way up on the wall". On the floor there are 2 red metal chairs, designed by Alon for an Israeli city´s promenade and he was given the 2 chairs that were left.
Another wooden partition was placed at the far end of the space, hiding an area which is used as a working studio and storage Underneath the gallery, Alon had built a comfortable small office decorated with a metal bookcase "The lowered ceiling at the entrance creates an intimate area, which envelopes the visitor and softens the entrance to the place, which is unusually high.
The only window in the house is a high one, long and narrow which is found close to the ceiling, in the upper gallery. Since it is the only option for daylight to penetrate the space it was important not to block it. However, Alon wanted to create some privacy in the sleep area and to hide it from the visitor´s eyes. The solution was to polish the acrylic in such a way that it has become opaque, but can still let daylight in.
The staircase that leads to the gallery is decorated with the same acrylic material which adds a sculptural appeal to the space. Behind the kitchen is a small bathroom lead to by a lintel made of wooden cubes that looks like a relief. "These cubes were originally part of a display designed by him for a jewelry exhibition.
All the lamps in the house were designed by Razgour and each tell a story. In the kitchen, a ceiling lamp, was designed in the shape of a white lampshades cluster decorated artificial leaves.
Above the living room, a ceiling round lampshade is made of perforated and folded aluminum sheets. Three other lamps that light the lower space, that are hung from the wooden lowered ceiling, were taken from an electronics factory that was closed.
In addition to Alon´s creations his house is filled with artwork and oil paintings from various sources. "Paintings made by me grandfather, who was a painter and lived in Paris in the 1950´s; paintings I´ve done; paintings that were given to me by friends and even an old oil painting that I´ve found on the street.
"The street is an integral part of my house"´ he says. You cannot ignore it when you live on the street level, and often in the evening hours when the street becomes emptier I leave the door open and enjoy the outside.
PHOTO CREDIT: BOAZ LAVI