Interview: Yuval Saar, Design Journalist

by designspace | 24.06.13

Yuval Saar, a journalist from Galleria Haaretz, has interviewed us more then once. But this time we were lucky to be the ones asking the questions. We decided to meet him after a few crazy months of production during Fresh Design, at Nola Café on Dizengof, where he once interviewed us about the fair.

Where are you from?

Born and raised in Tel Aviv on Ibn Gvirol/Jabotinsky, close to where I live right now.

What and where did you study? And how did you start your professional path?

I studied graphic design on Avni Institute for 2 years, and I was a graphic designer at Adler Chomsky between 1999-2002. Then I studied at Camera Obscura, where I took a one-year course of curating, culture and criticism; it opened my mind for all the visual art.

In 2002, I went to study History and Theory of Visual Culture at Bezalel, which was a new program back then. During these years I also opened my studio of graphic design “adom adom” with my current partner Rachel Miller.

In 2003, I started my blog Portfolio, where I could write more about my personal opinions, find my own voice, and interest the readers. Back then, nobody was writing about design, books, graphic design, and illustration.

Curriculum design ( Underground map) / Book cover design

Wedding invitation design

How did you start to write for Haaretz?

In 2006, I started to write for the design section in Shamenet Magazine with the editor Liat Timor, and six months later I started writing for Designer Magazine. I was also a graphic editor for both magazines.

In March 2009, I saw a note in “Velvet Underground” saying that Haaretz were looking for a writer for the design department. Without hesitating and not telling anyone – as I was sure not to get it – I sent my resume and surprisingly got the job right away! Suddenly I had to “wear” a label – Design Expert. For a few months I wrote 10-15 articles a months, almost everyday, without no other competition.

After five years at Haaretz I started writing less and got more free time, which made me do even more (laugh). Four years ago, I started to teach at Bezalel’s Master Program of Industrial Design. Now I also teach at Holon Institute of Technology and at Shenkar’s different Master Programs.

Nowadays I update my blog more often, maybe 3-5 posts a week. Six months ago I started editing reDesign Magazine, an online magazine which now focuses more on the local design scene.

I am hosting “Portfolio live”, a live conversations, interview and talks by artists, journalists, gallerists and other inspiring influential people.

Since I got more free time, I also started to talking with people around me on ideas and potential collaborations, saying: “I am available! Let’s see what the world has to offer.” Arieh Berkovitch, manager of the artists house in Tel Aviv, offered me to curate a design exhibition, which was very exiting. Since I always wanted to do an illustration exhibition as well, I get to do them both, showing in 2014.

Another opportunity came when I met Liron Hershkovitch, from Latzet Mehakufsa (Out of the Box) and told him about an idea I had 5 years ago – a book cover exhibition. In the exhibition, “100 books. 200 covers”, which was on display for 3 weeks in Bat Yam, we showed different printed book covers – both the ones that were printed and the ones that were not accepted by the publisher.

Another exhibition, which I am really excited about, is “online offline”, opened on June 20 at the Hamishkan Beit Meirov Gallery in Holon. The exhibition presents how the digital age influences the design world. Also I have three more exhibitions coming up, but I can’t really talk about them yet.

There is something very new about curating those exhibitions but being at this place doesn’t feel unfamiliar, writing and interviewing designers, gallerists curators and many influential people for many years, felt very natural to me.

Personal items

Kitchen view

What is Israeli design?

I can’t really describe Israeli design. In 2013 you can’t really talk about national design.

However, first, I would say we have very strong academic institutes, without them we couldn’t have talked about Israeli design.

Then, we can spot Israeli everywhere in the world, I would say the same for the design. Very esthetic, compositions, colors, we try harder because we don’t have this industry here.

I would say I don’t really have an answer (laugh).

What did you think about the Fresh Design Fair?

Well organized and very impressive. During my first visit it took me two hours to do the tour, as I knew so many people. But then I did another one and when I finished I actually forgot there is an art fair next to it.

I am not sure all the commercial exhibitors should be there, but I understand why.

I would say that the connection between the commercialism and the designers was more like an exhibition and less like a fair.

What would you have done differently?

For a first year I think it was amazing, interesting to see if there will be a next year. I’m not sure I would have done anything differently.

Where is your current working place?

I work from home – I am a very homey person.

What is the atmosphere and the concept of your personal space like? Are there any designer pieces?

I always refurnish. My favorite pieces at home would be a colorful green little chair from IKEA. I also have a big library all over the wall with books, illustrations, catalogues and more.

I don’t have any Israeli design at home, more Israeli illustrations.

Works by Yoni Shavit, Izika Gaon, Geffen Refaeli, Keren Taggar, Orit Bergman, Adi Tako, Alefalefalef.co.il, UK Royal Mail, Niv Tishbi

What is your day like?

My day is always hectic, and never the same.

Emails editing exhibitions meetings lots of phone calls teaching.

Beach if I can and a nap which is a big “pinuk” in the middle of the day.

Where are you going out? Favorite places? Galleries? Museums in Tel Aviv?

Because I have such busy-eclectic-hectic days, I usually like to stay home with my partner since we both do so much.

About the cultural places, for the part of the design it’s hard to say, Tel Aviv Museum, I’ve been going there since I was a child. I like the new wing as well, but I am very connected to the old building.

As a Gallery, Alon Segev I like what he is doing, and Rosenfeld’s great exhibitions and artists.


Thanks to Yael Engelhart for the beautiful pictures above.

Flyer for Yuval Saar’s current exhibition:


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