With GPS in hand as I survey where my next turn will be to approach Dror's office I find myself realizing that NYC intersections are easy to locate but not all buildings are appropriately numbered. It wasn't my most direct trajectory but I found the door and approached the studio. I am welcomed by a narrow corridor with welcoming characters spelling "Studio Dror" distorted in a perspective to make it legible when departing the elevator. I knew I had arrived to quite a special team. I am a sucker for great type though. I wait briefly inside the Dror studio with a pleasant cup of coffee, much needed after a full day running through the cacophony that is New York City, I cannot help but stare at all the sketches, toys, models and mockups that lie all over his studio. Just after I am done with one cup, I am greeted by Dror Benshetrit, founder of Dror, a multi-disciplinary design company specializing in product design, architecture and art direction. His collaborations include companies such as Alessi, Bentley, Boffi, Bombay Sapphire, Cappellini, Levi's and Swarovski, just to name a few. Trained at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, his work is a true testament of the value of process in design.
Dror's multi-disciplinary approach allows his work to carry movement and transformation through many facets. His soft spoken demeanor should not deceive you as his hands and mind are full of vivid and powerful ideas . Yatzer sat down in his office to discuss his work, studio, collaborations, and passions while playing with some of his products and looking at some visionary work that will come in the next months.
As we sat down comfortably we began to get to know each other and quickly connected as our passion for design was evident through our first few sentences. As everyone in New York City is short for time, we got down to business and he brought out his latest work, Volume for MGX, being displayed at ICFF 2010.
Dror talks to Yatzer // © Yatzer.com
What looks like a patterned sheet laying on his vast table, quickly transforms into a formal and structural volume that stands at an angle. This framework of geometries interlock, creating strength in its numbers forming a field that is flexible, graphic and practical. The volume is porous, visually textured and light in weight. Once transformed from flat to volume, it is placed over a light source to create a diffused light that brightens the geometric structure from within and gives it a warm glow from its center.
His work quickly reminded me of visionary work by Buckminster Fuller and the interesting work done in biomimicry. As I share my observations, Dror quickly mentions that he has been very interested in the complex-simple dichotomy nature provides and complex geometries that fractals give visually. He mentions that his interest in the natural has resonated gradually and that he now is aware of it; he nurtures his interest by reading and studying nature. His background in Physics might be the innate source of this interest.
His process fully attains the fragile balance between complexity and simplicity. His design process touches on the physical and metaphorical properties which allow for innovation on all projects; not only carrying form and function but a silent poetry that makes his work simply beautiful. His work is unforced, simple to understand and interact with.
He is driven by complexity which in turn shapes what seems to be an effortless solution. This transformation of complex to simple allows change to be accepted and embraced. His conceptual direction translates into a design process. Dror is driven by curiosity and poetic explorations. At the end of the design process, Dror is able to share his passions because they are evident through his products. He understands that change is difficult and at times not readily accepted.
"People like transformation when it is simple and in small gestures"
Lastly, we briefly spoke about what inspires him and what he is reading. It was clear to me that his process had a similar approach as a scientist would build complex equations and formulas in the quest to find the most direct solution. Furthermore, it also made me think on how nature feels and looks so simple in form, color and shapes but contains so much complexity behind it. He explains that he has been reading works by John Maeda and his book "The Laws of Simplicity" his quest to always provide the simplest of solutions embarks him on a journey through countless iterations until all the minute details are well executed. From consumer products, to architectural visions, interior environments and sculptural commissions, Dror embodies the the creative balance between constraints and freedom.