Hagai Segev, an Israeli friend of mine recently edited and translated the book Improvisation: New Design in Israel by designer Mel Byers. Hagai was a foreign exchange student near my hometown in the early eighties and 23+ years later, we’re still in touch.
Hagai is an international art curator in Tel Aviv, where he spends some of his time doing shows for up and coming Israeli artists and some of his time editing design and art books. He started his career as a curator at the Israeli Museum in Jerusalem where he primarily focused on archeology and architecture.
This led him to conduct historical tours of old Jerusalem, including some of the greats in art and literature like Hungarian nobel prize winner Umbrae Curtis, Umberto Eco, Paul Auster and Irish writer Iris Murdoch.
He planned a large exhibition of art history in Jerusalem for the 3000th anniversary in 1995 and for awhile, was also the Director of the Gallery at the Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa. He grew up on Kibbutz Nahal-Oz near the Gaza strip, not that far from Kibbutz Zikim, where I spent time on in the mid-eighties.
Like Zikim, It was also a kibbutz that had separate houses for children, meaning the children were separated from their parents for chunks of time and slept apart even though they lived in the same community.
Today, he is married to a woman who has three translation companies based on one of the Goddesses of Syria. I spent Shabat with them this year, an evening I won’t forget anytime soon. Sadly, I missed Anat’s exquisite chocolate cranberry cake since I had a redeye to catch.
Hagai gave me an overview of some of Tel Aviv’s history, which included a long slow walk down Rothchild Boulevard. The infamous Bauhaus Architecture from the 1930s and 40s remains, although they apparently moved some of these buildings forward and built larger more modern complexes behind the Bauhaus houses.
Below are examples of some of the designs from the Improvisation book that were publicly displayed at trendy shop LeEla on Bait Banamal in the Port area of Tel Aviv.