‘I take most of my inspirations from little things that are available to all of us in life,’ says Alon Meron, who sees his move into design as a natural continuation of his childhood habit of making his own toys and games. ‘The way a ball gets jammed in the crotch between two tree branches, the way a child with plastic grocery bags ties them into a cluster balanced on his shoulders because they are too heavy to carry by hand – those are small mechanisms that to me are always fascinating,’ he says.
Furniture and product design sit well with Meron, whose attitude to his field is thoroughly considered. ‘It’s a good field because a lot of the notions employed in it are derived from the human body,’ he says. ‘Ideas about softness and hardness, flexibility and movement, and the type of pressure required to make something give or move – those are all things we know very intimately and they make interesting elements to design around.’
This extends to Meron’s appreciation of materials (‘Choosing a material is like casting for a role in a movie and the more intimately you know them, the better your job will be’), and his attitude to the commercial pulls of the industry. He doesn’t believe in the myth of the struggling artist. ‘You need to thrive to be creative and commercial success is the means for that,’ he explains. ‘It’s a simple truth that if you cannot afford to go on doing design, you will have to stop and look for a more lucrative occupation.’
Meron completed his Design Products MA at the Royal College of Art in 2008, but has been commissioned to create installations and sold many one-offs for a number of years. He has also won awards including a Conran Foundation Award for the most outstanding RCA student, and exhibited around the world.
His products include the Wedge shelving system, which uses wooden wedges and spikes to hitch box-shaped shelves to a central vertical column, the Lucid table, which binds mass-produced ceramics in resin to make a table top, and The Aristocrats, which are part-bean bag, part-Chesterfield chairs. They all demonstrate a balance between the functional and the unexpected. ‘The element of surprise I try to achieve is not the surreal kind that imposes the unexpected on you, but more the kind that shows you something you have always known, but in a different way,’ says Meron.
His Endoskeletons apply the structural principle of a skeleton to the domestic environment. They follow the notion that, rather than see homes as exoskeletons – containers for lives – the components are placed on a structure and the space creates itself around it. ‘The evolution from an abstract notion translated into materials, into dead ends and back on track, gave birth to a design that has a function of its own,’ says Meron. ‘That was very rewarding.’
Embarking on his formal education slightly later in life – he was ‘mucking about’ as an airport traffic officer, pizza boy, trade abseiler and ice cream vendor for a few years – Meron is a great believer in a broad education. He says, ‘A designer is often a mediator and needs to know a little about a lot of things – not to answer the questions, but to ask them.’
2004 BA Industrial Design Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, Israel
2008 MA Design Products Royal College of Art
2008-2009 Designer Quinine
‘Alon Meron is an intelligent, innovative and energetic designer who is finding his feet. His work has already been shown internationally and he is both working in a consultancy and developing his own work.’
Daniel Charny Senior tutor Department of Design Products School of Architecture and Design