Concrete is a material with a complex history, and Iftach Gazit’s Negotiating Table is just one means for its aesthetic qualities to be admired, and for its stories to be told. Inspired by the the West Bank Barrier that separates Israel from Palestine, Gazit, a student at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, designed Negotiation Table as part of the institution’s ‘One To A Thousand Studio Project’ which required each student to draw a note from a hat that gave them a starting point to create the project.
Gazit got a note that asked him to design a folding table. The instructions were to make a one-of-a-kind piece with the intent of transforming the idea into a mass-produced product.
Gazit’s piece resembles two chairs and a central table, all decrepit in appearance and held up by strategically placed rebar reinforcements. It began, however, as a mere rectangular concrete slab which he broke into three distinct pieces, giving two of them the appearance of chairs by bending the reinforcements in areas where they were exposed.
Gazit’s motive behind designing Negotiating Table was to showcase the contrasting uses of concrete within the context of Israeli-Palestinian politics. He thought it hypocritical that concrete was being used as means to create a divide between these two countries, despite the fact that this very same material is, as he says, the “most common building technique in both Israel and the Palestinian territories”.
“I knew I wanted to create something that would make a strong statement about Israeli-Palestinian politics and culture, he adds. “I looked for aesthetics in everyday life and found it in concrete.”
Gazit’s other provocative projects include Sous La Vie, which imagines a range of pre-packed foods in waterproof bags that are cooked in the washing machine, and a Panopticon Chandelier of security lights and CCTV cameras.
Photography: Iftach Gazit