Design Observer

About
Books
Job Board
Newsletters
Archive
Contact



Observatory

About
Resources
Submissions
Contact


Featured Writers

Michael Bierut
William Drenttel
John Foster
Jessica Helfand
Alexandra Lange
Mark Lamster
Paul Polak
Rick Poynor
John Thackara
Rob Walker


Departments

Advertisement
Audio
Books
Collections
Dear Bonnie
Dialogues
Essays
Events
Foster Column
From Our Archive
Gallery
Interviews
Miscellaneous
Opinions
Partner News
Photos
Poetry
Primary Sources
Projects
Report
Reviews
Slideshows
The Academy
Today Column
Unusual Suspects
Video


Topics

Advertising
Architecture
Art
Books
Branding
Business
Cities / Places
Community
Craft
Culture
Design History
Design Practice
Development
Disaster Relief
Ecology
Economy
Education
Energy
Environment
Fashion
Film / Video
Food/Agriculture
Geography
Global / Local
Graphic Design
Health / Safety
History
Housing
Ideas
Illustration
India
Industry
Info Design
Infrastructure
Interaction Design
Internet / Blogs
Journalism
Landscape
Literature
Magazines
Media
Museums
Music
Nature
Obituary
Other
Peace
Philanthropy
Photography
Planning
Poetry
Politics / Policy
Popular Culture
Poverty
Preservation
Product Design
Public / Private
Public Art
Religion
Reputations
Science
Shelter
Social Enterprise
Sports
Sustainability
Technology
Theory/Criticism
Transportation
TV / Radio
Typography
Urbanism
Water


Comments Posted 11.22.10 | PERMALINK | PRINT

William Drenttel

Imagining Menorahs as Peacocks?



Menorah, design by Drenttel Doyle Projects (Miguel Oks), 1996

I dread the cycle of new product introductions thrown at Design Observer every holiday season — especially the menorahs — or Hanukkah lamps — proposed as Hanukkah gifts. They're paraded in catalogs this time of year with questionable evangelism: "A new generation of designers is re-imagining the menorah using everything from recycled bike chains to wrought iron for inspiration." The idea that designers want to "re-imagine" the menorah every year is worthy of discussion and critique; the idea that they elect to work with materials like recycled bike chains needs to be challenged by someone.

Sadly, this year's highlights of "re-imagined" menorahs from Modern Tribe include the "Not Schlock's Man-orah Menorah" made out of galvanized steel pipe plumbing parts; the need-we-say-more East-Village asesthetic "Recycled Bicycle Chain Menorah"; the "Solid as your faith" wrought-iron menorah; the perplexing "Puzzle Menorah," "crafted with four generations of Egyptian-born and Jerusalem-based silversmith artistry;" and finally the are-you-kidding-me "Peacock Menorah" to "preen your Hanukkah finery."

Daniel Libeskind, famed for his Jewish Museum in Berlin, decided to make a contribution too. There is his exhibition of 40 menorahs at the Jewish Museum in New York, lovingly photographed to look elegant for T, The New York Times Style Magazine. The designer contributions in this show are mixed, including Richard Meier's 1985 homage to architectural styles from historical moments of Jewish persecution to Karim Rashid's somewhat dated blob forms of 2004.

And let's not forget this year's iMenorah for your iPhone: "For the Jew far from home!"

A decade ago, Drenttel Doyle Projects worked for a year designing a menorah on commission. We made five of them. It was a long, slow process, and ultimately the menorah was hand-tooled in steel, and made of close to 100 individual parts. When candles were placed in it and lit, the reflective screen moiré became magical. I love everything about what we designed, except that it's too expensive to share or sell. But at least it's not a peacock or, God help me, a Man-orah.
|
Share This Story

Comments

Design Observer encourages comments to be short and to the point; as a general rule, they should not run longer than the original post. Comments should show a courteous regard for the presence of other voices in the discussion. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments that do not adhere to this standard.
Read Complete Comments Policy >>


Name             

Email address 




Please type the text shown in the graphic.


|
Share This Story



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

William Drenttel is a designer and publisher, and editorial director of Design Observer. He is a partner at Winterhouse, a design consultancy focused on social change, online media and educational institutions, and a senior faculty fellow at the Yale School of Management.
More Bio >>

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS









BOOKS BY William Drenttel

Looking Closer 5
Allworth Press, 2006

Looking Closer 4
Allworth Press, 2002

Looking Closer 2
Allworth Press, 1997

Looking Closer 1
Allworth Press, 1994

More books by contributors >>