TRADITIONAL, HAND-MADE CRAFT, INFLUENCED BY CULTURE.
Raphael was born in Jerusalem,He graduated from ‘The Design Academy Eindhoven’, The Netherlands.He is an independent multidisciplinary, non-industrial designer,Raphael lives and works in Paris.He focuses on custom made design and made-to-measure interiors, combining traditional methods with contemporary ‘savoir-faire’.
Kindly describe what you do? I am a Paris based designer working mostly in the field of custom made interiors and high craft editions.
Where are you from/ tell us about your educational/creative background? I was born in Jerusalem, graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2003.
What are your creative philosophies /beliefs? My works main focus is on craft, mostly traditional , often hand-made and always with great respect to the material and the know how it brings.
What/ who inspires you to do? I am inspired mostly by the materials themselves, semantics, science and psychology in relation to the residents, guests, or clients of the current project I work on. Inspiration rarely awaits me in design journals or fairs, it arises through walks, conversations, factory visits and unguarded moments through imagination. . Why do you do what you do? I create with an intention of making spaces and object that are timeless and essential both in function and in spirit. I find it both soothing and exciting to imagine a world around us that is sustainable and actual without the fuzz of trend-chasing and temporary expressions. This value empowers me with the will to create and simply motivates me to meet, exchange and make. Tell us about some of your collaborations? During the last fifteen years or so I got to work with many different types of clients, factories, artists and craftsman which led me slowly to understand my field and it's values and in time to earn good relationships with the people I work with. During this professional evolution I kept an independent status as an artist that allows me to collaborated with many different independent professions and set up a tailored team for each project. Having no studio results in many exciting collaborations of unexpected kinds. One of the most communicated collaboration was with David Lynch while working on the Parisian member club SILENCIO, in which I was assigned to interpret his thoughts, scripts and ideas into a visual physical space. During the construction that lasted about three years, I got to learn much on the dynamics and politics behind the scenes which plays a part that risk to shadow the actual creative process. I found it rather inspiring to have Lynch’s bold openness as a reference point of the design and learned how to protect the concept beyond the restrictions in the projects to follow.The most inspiring collaborations often happen during discussions with craftsmen and confronting their knowledge on materials and techniques. My work with the Amsterdam based wood surface company Oscar Ono, gave birth to the forgotten tradition of end grain flooring, with which I launch a new collection of ready to pose parquet early 2018. I am very passionate about end grain wood and was excited to be challenged with the limitations and advantages of this story telling unexpected textures.
Tell us about some particular highlights of your career so far? Hotel National des Art et Métièrs is with no doubt the most complete project I conducted so far. It encompasses a very large amount of values manifested by local materials and artistry. I worked on it for two years in very tight relation to the owner Samy Marciano, who was daily involved in every detail of the project. It is rare to have a client so engaged and a huge benefit for the designer essentially once ideas and concepts are supported. The hand carved PARIS stone pillars, the oxidised copper tubes and the carved marble staircase are only a small part of the crafted challenges we set for ourselves, all took a long development time and attention. I believe the presence of real unprocessed materials are the essence of the current success of this venue’s ambience. matter matters.
If you could change some things in your industry what would they be? More time for concept, more thinking of people rather than sheer architecture. I find it difficult for design and architecture studios to keep up with the speed and workload and it seems that genuine good vibes are losing to design entertainment and cerebral architecture.
What projects have you got coming up? I was commissioned by Garance Primat to design a bookcase for the Domaine des Etangs which is the largest 5 star resort in France, that expands over 1000 hectares of protected natural surroundings. After a few meetings the mission was extended to draw the Domaine’s libraries situated in a beautiful authentic dairy barn transformed to an art gallery. As the totality of the space is custom made including furniture and objects, I had the chance to work in many intriguing collaborations such as with Haywood hill who curated 3000 books in wondrous categories, gallery Diurne for which I drew a hand made silk and wool carpet and local woodworkers with whom I created a series of sculptures to be used through the gallery space.
What do you love about Paris? The light, Paris light. Crisp and clear.