Israeli design is becoming a massive fad all around the country,but also internationally. Designers are an important part of the contemporary culture, bursting with creativity and offering a challenging environment regarding their discipline. As we all know, Tel Aviv is a multicultural city, a “patchwork” that influence the arts and of course the design scene, and allows the establishment of gallery/design store like HIBINO which is offering a platform to Japanese design in the Middle East. Even though today the terminology Design is associated with the applied arts, this multi-faceted field was originally all about aesthetic and functionality , at Hibino you will find everyday life items turned into high quality design with all the expertise and the spirit of Japanese designers. When you walk along Ahad Ha’Am street, right in the heart of the city, you can’t not notice this wonderful and peaceful space. When I entered Hibino for the first time I was like a kid in a candy store, everything was so colourful, precious and attractive that I couldn’t resist to stop at each and every items to give them a proper look. I had the chance to meet few members of the “Hibino Team” and without any doubt you can tell that they are sharing a mutual passion for the Japanese culture and that they pay a particular attention to the choice of the objects and designers that they are presenting in their minimalistic but charismatic place.
I’m of course fond of a lot of the items present in the Store but here are my two specials crushes : The minimalist/cubist mobiles by Shigeki Fujishiro that reminded me of Alexander Calder and his kinetic sculptures, and the delicate work of a talented artist Keiko Porat who modernizes and makes accessible a popular Japanese art form called Etegami (it’s a mixed between painting and calligraphy ).
To learn more about Hibino, his founder Prag Rokach had the kindness to answer few questions :
Can you describe the “spirit” and the “mission” of Hibino in few words?
Our “goal” is reflecting Japanese spirit, Japanese quiet that stands behind high design and quality– We are trying to bring a sort of essence of everyday Japanese-ritual into our space, in that way to enrich our clients/visitors perspective. I would summarise our essence in three terms (that are our motto as well): Hyper technique – Clever beauty – Solid Shock
Why is it important to promote Japanese art, design and lifestyle in Israel?
I find that Israeli people are very curious people to different cultures (it’s also our story as a society – the Jewish people in Israel which assembled from many countries & cultures all over the world). In addition, the fact that our world becoming smaller and smaller as a global world provide us more accessibility to knowledge and to experience many desires from many cultures – the Japanese culture is one of them, I find the Japanese culture very interesting and differ from other civilisation. The Japanese culture is so respectable and challengeable – it’s very rich “platform” to investigate many aspects: Aesthetics, Art, History, Culinary…those aspects which we think that are not reflected enough (or at all) here in Israel. All together provide accessibility to experience our theme. Above all is our Love and Passion to the Japanese culture – “hdt” (hibino design team).
All the design you are offering is really singular, graphic and sophisticated but still usable. How would you describe the singularity of the Japanese art and design production?
There are many criteria regarding our product plan, part of it derived by the vision of Hibino. We are trying to assemble and choose product by product with great care and attention. Each piece is being examined in order to get coherence to the rest of the product plan: colors, materials, qualities, designers and sometimes even region in Japan. Hibino is reflecting high end product and culture of Japan, and moreover brings into awareness universal Japanese design that is sophisticated and luxurious as well as timeless. Among our brand names there are outstanding designers such as Sori Yanagi, Riki Watanabe, Isamu Noguchi, Naoto Fukosawa, Makoto Koizumi and respectable companies as TAMANOHADA, NODA HORO, WASARA, NOUSAKU and TOMBOW. Hibino continues to preserve the values of classical Japanese design with innovative challenges.
Hibino represents a perfect balance between art, design and lifestyle. Are you seeing yourself as what we call nowadays a concept store, a type of store that offer a theme and a universe?
I would describe Hibino gallery & shop as an experience of aesthetics that bring awareness to senses that are often forgotten. We are situated in the midst of busy financial district that is changing into luxurious area with many attractions. Our space adds another value to this area, as high end aesthetic gallery and shop where you can take time and reflect on the beauty and softness of our existence, while turning your daily routines into meaningful rituals. We are avoiding from describe/define ourselves as a ‘concept store’, since we tried to wider our theme, our reflection.
Hibino means “Daily” in Japanese, how do you see theses modern and traditional Japanese items fitting in the Israeli lifestyle?
“Hibino” is Daily, we knows the “daily” term in a way of rituals (in the west). In Japan I found another meaning to the term “daily”: daily in a way of Ceremony. I found it as an integral value in the Japanese culture, in the Japanese way of living – we try to research after it and to reflect it into our space. Many routines and rituals in Japan are made (to my perspective) in very strict order as Ceremonies – it brings to the highest qualities results in technique, design and Art, long history… – All of these come to expression in the Rituals of way of living, Rituals of quality of life, Rituals of Art and Rituals of awareness to Design. Just like Japan, modern Israeli lifestyle is strongly influenced by its rich history and culture. This, in my opinion, is where the appreciation for Japanese products is derived from – high quality techniques which come from long history and tradition and these qualities and the sense of beauty and design, transformed and adjusted into modern necessities.
Hibino became a place to go, to see and to be in Tel Aviv. How do you explain the enthusiasm of the Telavivim regarding Hibino?
In the past couple of years we do get many positive responses not only from the local Telavivians, but also from costumers that arrive from different parts of the country (before one year we launched another branch of Hibino in Haifa – “Museum Shop” in Tikotin Japanese Art museum). In many cases we also happy to receive positive feedbacks from tourists all over the world who telling us that they planned ahead their visit at Hibino after recommendation they got from relatives.
We are constantly trying here to bring new ideas, we are researching after vacuums in order to create a “different” spirit and culture, yet accessible experience and to give to our clientele the possibility to take with them a piece – piece of quiet, piece of our theme. From Japan.
Your amazing space is right in the heart of the city, near one of its most famous boulevard, Rotschild. Tel Aviv art scene is starting to be really well known abroad and have nothing to envy to its fellows European or American, why do you think this city is so creative and open minded regarding art and design?
To my modest opinion I feel and think that Tel-Aviv is one of the most amazing Metropolises in the world. Parts of the scene which you point is the way that people bring themselves in expression into this city – I come every morning to my Gallery and engage with so many people and find how many people in different ages so energetic with a lot of urge, wish to success in so many fields: Art, Design, Culinary, Eco-life, businesses… People here also absorb from abroad and tried hard to bring their originality and to reflect it to the city (We find it also many years in the Israeli IT industry).
Hibino is definitely a “Must Go” so check out their contacts :
30 Yavne Street (corner of Ahad Ha’am street)
Tel Aviv 65792 Israel
Tel/fax : +972 3 516 0352