Industrial Design: About

Benjamin Swig

Over the course of four years of study at the Industrial Design Department, we create a field of activity and experimentation that examines the world of design. The students start forming a new body of knowledge from the very first day of their studies. At the outset, the students learn and assimilate the various professional, cultural and historic foundations they require so that in the coming years they may explore, create, experience and express themselves through the design of products that have a substantial effect on our way of life.

Industrial design, as it has been taught at the Bezalel Academy in the last 35 years, evolved out of an approach of identifying and specifying the problem, developing a scenario and striving for an accurate solution while using physical and academic tools. In the last decade, we have seen the field evolving and witnessed the emergence of directions and sub-directions from and within it: from creative designers touching the world of craftsmanship to designers engaged in the exploration of the field of design and in self exploration, from designers seeking answers to those wishing to raise questions as a final product.

The margins are a fascinating territory and the place of evolutionary storms, and they exist at the Department through a powerful synergetic combination with the professional hard core of traditional product design. The projects the students create emerge from exploration and emotion and come to conclusion as the physical implementation of the students' personal fields of interest.

You spend a substantial part of your life surrounded by objects. Some of them are attached to your body while others empower and even contain you. The cellular computer in your pocket, the beverage bottle, the sunglasses, the bed in which you spent the night, the artificial joint in your shoulder and the electric car in which you arrived – are all products that underwent a process of design. What do you think of them? Are they comfortable or awkward? Are they aesthetic, cheap or expensive? Are they exciting or dull? Were they manufactured using hi-tech or low-tech? What moral aspects do they embody? Do they improve the quality of our life? Are they beneficial or detrimental to the environment? Do they reflect some cultural or historic concept? Is "green" inside also "green" outside? What are they telling about you? If you attended the exhibitions of the Department, you saw around you a new and fascinating aggregation of knowledge made up of thousands of hours of exploration, development and design.

This academic activity comes into existence from day to day over the course of the academic year, and the spirit of the period, which the students dream up and uphold, is created with it. Please bear in mind that product design, which has recently evolved into 'social grease', is – first and foremost – a powerful evolutionary force that acts at a junction where advanced technologies meet the spiritual and material needs of future users. More than any other profession, this field is characterized by a practical and poetic ability to bridge between techno-cultural progress and those who are about to use it.