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Pure Talents Contest Nominee Roee Magdassi:
“I want to reach a large crowd with my work.”

Photo: Roee Magdassi
Photo: Roee Magdassi

Roee Magdassi is a product designer, born in Jerusalem and currently working and living in Tel Aviv. In his point of view, design should be practical, striving for simplicity and straightforward. Such as the coffee table set “Edge”, he will present at Pure Talents Contest in Cologne. The tables are fitted with carrying handles, which have two functions. They make it easy to carry the tables around and as an edge, making sure nothing slips off surface.

Why did you become a designer?
I was always interested and involved in making and creating. I was drawn to the architecture field at a very young age, but as the time passed by, I started finding more interest in product design. At the time, the territory seemed to me quite related; both in the fields of applied arts, but the wide and diverse range of possibilities in product design drew me in. As a product designer, you could put a smile upon someone’s face with a design work, no matter if it is the most advanced spaceship or an every-day bottle opener.

What was the most unusual place where you ever had a brilliant idea for a new design?
Under the sink. While working on a new set of tables, I accidently spilled a glass of water on the floor. I went to the kitchen and pulled out a bucket with a mop from under the sink, and immediately made the connection to my project. That is when ‘Edge’ tables got their handles. In my designs I try to borrow a recognized shape, feature or a small gesture which most people are familiar with, process it and implement it in a new context.

Do you still need a pencil as a designer today? Or do you work digitally?
Even though a large part of my design process is preformed digitally, I always prefer to begin and to finish with physical mediums.

I always make stacks of sketches before I sit in front of the screen. I find this process less obligating, and more than that, you don’t have the ctrl+z option! I think this small detail really improves my workflow. Furthermore, I usually return to my first sketches and find there some great opportunities that I missed in the first place, or that are more relevant to other projects.

After digitalizing the process, I go back to physical models to get a real impression of the object in space. So overall, during the design process I try to go back and forth between the two, and use each ones advantages.

Do you have a role model?
Many designers influence my work. At the beginning, it was Dieter Rams and his design principles when I was just introduced to the product design domain, as well as Oki Sato’s simple, clear and straightforward ideas in each and every project.

If I have to point out one, I would say Jaime Hayon’s approach to design is amazing. He works on a very large range of projects, from mass production to art, but no matter what it is, you can immediately recognize it is his work, and you could also tell he had a great time working on it.

Does design make you happy?
Design makes me happy. And frustrated, and angry and sometimes even confused, but I guess it’s like that in every serious relationship. I experience and enjoy it in every aspect of my life- if I work, travel, or just through the every-day routine.

The carrying handle can also be used as a table border. Foto: Roee Magdassi
The carrying handle can also be used as an edge of the table. Foto: Roee Magdassi

What do you find satisfactory or unsatisfactory in design work?
If I need to sum it up, the process of designing a product from concept to production is very long and interesting while the most satisfying moments are: The first moment I see the completed design after a long process. When an individual is looking at my product and he “gets it”. However, the most exhilarating one is when I see an individual using and enjoying my design.

Is there a design world beyond serial production? And if so, how important is it for you?
Of course, there is a large spectrum between serial-production to one-offs, on the boarder of art, and I find great interest in every part of it. With saying that, I believe design should help people- if by making their life easier, solving problems, or just by making them feel better and more comfortable with themselves or with their surroundings. I want people to enjoy my work and feel connected to it. I want it to be approachable and to reach a large crowed. Therefore, serial production is very important to me.

What can`t you quit while you are working?
It seems as if I am spending 90% of the time on “final adjustments”. Usually, even after I feel satisfied (almost!) with the design, it takes me quite a while and eventually I need to force myself to stop changing the slightest measurements or angles of the product.

What kind of product needs to be invented urgently?
Currently I’m very focused on designing furniture and home décor items and I find it fascinating that even though the functional purpose of those pieces already exists for hundreds of years, still every day, designers manage to innovate the design and aesthetics in an ever-ending manner. I find the reliance on traditional aspects and products with the interpretation of today’s cultural and technological changes exiting.

What does the imm cologne trade show mean to you?
The imm Cologne trade show is an amazing opportunity for me. It concentrates Furniture and home décor, fields that fascinates me. It is a great event, where you can meet and contact many companies & designers in the industry. It is a great chance to learn a lot, get new perspectives and also to expose and share my projects.

Further information about the nominees and ther projects you will find here.