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After decades of globalization,

The world is shutting in

into imagined comfort zones.

Brexit.

The wall of Mexico.

The echo chambers of Social network groups.

Islands of homogenous, like minded identities,

struggling to mark their territories

in a world of failing borders.

 

For Jerusalem this is not a new condition.

For centuries, it is an Island of islands.

Divided into cultural, religious and social sects.

Jerusalem persists, a delicate equilibrium.

It is formed by design,

both in the elements that separates it,

and in those that tie it together.

 

From its masterplan of segregated neighborhoods,

to the contrast of clothing when changing environment.

From typography, to infrastructure, to color scheme

To the stone that wraps it together.
Design forms identity, uniformity, culture, tools and customs;

It offers the potential of autonomy;

It defines who we are, and who we are not.

For designers, this shifting world is an opportunity

To create specific rather then generic.

To construct new worlds.

To see who they are designing to.

To manifest identities.

 

Or to subvert all this.

What can the world learn from the islands of Jerusalem?

 

The old joke in Israel is that it is always ten years behind in culture and fashion. Yet when the world is in conflict, Israel is always ten years ahead. The resources distinguishing Israeli design are not a connection to a strong local industry, nor a long history of craft or an established aesthetic culture. Israel is a fertile ground for unique social situations, complex communal fabric, and multiple conflicting identities. Israeli design plays an important role in all of these.

The theme for this years’ Design Week, ‘Islands’, examines the place of design in general, and the power of the Israeli designer in particular, in dealing with one of the most prominent conflicts of recent years – the collapse of the “global village” ideology, and the convergence into distinct identities in face of a world of failing borders, both in the physical space and in the virtual one. Israel, in that respect, serves as a living lab for the examination of identities, boundaries and isolationism – in defining them and in dissolving them, and in the central role design plays in building these definitions.

Here, the power of Jerusalem Design Week is manifested – on one hand, as a public event whose purpose is to expose the vast design talent in Israel to a wide audience, and on the other, as an ongoing process that has the power to promote, support and define local design and its connection to the international community – Design that is centered on the cultural and the social, and on influencing the world around it.