Ron Arad, longest and possibly the most famous on the scene, he was dubbed the “bad boy” of design for his devil-may-care attitude, fusing industrial design and contemporary art. Case in point: The Bad Tempered chair he designed for Vitra in 2002, a limited production seating object based on his earlier Well Tempered chair and made from four voluminous sheet-steel loops hewn and held by industrial tacks. Today no longer in sheet metal, it is now made from newly-developed plastic.
Not only is Arad an autodidact in design, he’s also a creator-sculptor in his self-funded projects. While he designs for some of the most illustrious furniture brands – Vitra, Magis, Kartell, Moroso – he never stops pushing boundaries, defying categorisation by his critics and the media. His nerve and grit, coupled by always questioning the traditional and conventional ways when designing products, has helped him to rise above any design challenge.
Born in Tel Aviv in 1951 and based in London since 1973, Arad’s design vision has always been broad and futuristic. His company Ron Arad Associates also has an off-shoot Italian arm called One Off, based in Como. Some popular designs from the self-effacing designer includes Bookworm bookshelf for Kartell (1993), the classic Tom Vac chair for Vitra (1997) and Clover (2007) and MT (2004) series of chairs for Driade.
On Arad’s appeal, furniture retail-insider Eileen Tan opines: “He, alongside other Middle Eastern designers like Arik Levy and Zaha Hadid, is a breath of fresh air among the predominantly European designers in the world of contemporary design.” Indubitably, Arad’s designs will constantly evoke wonderment while being innovative in pushing the limits of Western design aesthetics and typologies.