Everything you ever wanted to ask design legend and India Design ID speaker, Ron Arad
FEB 14, 2018 | By Nadezna Siganporia
“I hate speed bumps. I understand controlling speed, but this is a silly solution and every time I come across one, I think about what the alternative could be.” About 30 minutes into my interview with Ron Arad, we are talking about what inspires him. “Sometimes it’s the things you dislike that can be powerful motivators,” continues the prolific artist, product designer and architect, “other times you come across something new, like a different material, and wonder what you can do with it. There’s no format or single source.”
His inspirations are as varied as his creations. What Ron is known for the most are his relentless experimentations with form, structure and materials. He has created his own design language and the masterpieces he draws up have the remarkable ability to make the viewer question the way things are “supposed to be”. “To design is to do something that did not exist before I did it, and to ask, ‘What if I do this?’ I’ve said it many times, boredom is the mother of creativity.”
It was this boredom that changed his life and thrust him on the career path he is on today. His first job was at an architectural firm which made this self-proclaimed reluctant employee realise he couldn’t work for other people. “When you study architecture, you imagine museums and opera houses. But the world is not waiting for you with projects as exciting as what you did when you were a student. So, one day, after lunch, I just didn’t go back and instead went to the scrapyard….”
This would prove to be a pivotal moment, for it was here the famous Rover chair was born. Using a leather seat from a Rover car, he mounted it on to a metal frame that he designed, bringing raw form into our homes. ”I hadn’t planned on being a product designer; this piece dragged me into a new world.” Soon other spectacular experimental creations followed like the Bookworm shelf, which was originally designed in steel and gives the user the freedom to install it in various shapes, from a tight spiral to a gentle curve, and any shape in between.
Another popular design was the Concrete stereo made from reinforced concrete. He has described this piece as “a way to expose beauty where it is hidden”. This was also evident in his Well Tempered chair where he folded sheets of stainless steel to form a club seater. “It’s all to do with a curiosity that I want to satisfy and sometimes the final product turns out better than you thought or deserved. I felt that when I designed the Box in Four Movements chair.” While he wasn’t focused on the harmonious clicking sound of opening the chair, he was delighted when it came about, describing it as a wonderful gift.