Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay

This official collaboration between Yael Mer & Shay Alkalay started after many years of sharing life, thoughts, ideas and everything in-between. Yael’s main focus includes turning two-dimensional sheet materials into curvaceous functional forms, whereas Shay is fascinated by how things move, function and react. Together they work under the name Raw-Edges and share a common goal to create objects that have never been seen before.

Since their graduation show at the Royal College of Art in 2006, they have received several highly respected awards including The British Council Talented Award, iF Gold Award, Dutch Design Award,  Wallpaper*  Design Award 2009 and the Elle Decoration International Design Award for best furniture of 2008_09 and just recently the Designer of the Future Award for 2009 from Design Miami/ Basel.

Their works have been exhibited at Johnson Trading Gallery in New York, FAT Galerie in Paris, Scope Art Fair in Basel and Rossana Orlandi Milan. Their designs can be found within the permanent collection of the MoMA New-York and The Design Museum London, and in production with Cappellini, Established & Sons and Arco. In addition, Yael & Shay produce unique and limited-edition designs within their own studio in London. Their work has been featured in many major design publications and newspapers worldwide.

FROM YOUR DESKS: How do you choose the palette on your pieces, is it based on environment? The Plaid bench stripes make sense as part of a bench (similiar to the Nelson Bench) but what pushes you to work the colour scheme?

YAEL MER/SHAY ALKALAY: The idea of the Plaid Bench was to mix few familiar archetypes of benches (one of them is actually like Nelson Bench) and to create a pattern that Check/Plaid fabric. We started being interested in pattern and fabrics when we worked on Wall To Wall (colourful Parquet floor) for Established & Sons and Stella McCartney, and Plaid Bench is new direction for the same interest. The way we choose the colour is absolutely intuitive, most of our design is well thoughts, we have reason for every single bit, but when it comes to colour, it’s just soothing that feels right to us.

It might be possible to actually float on the water with it; but I wouldn’t try it…

FYD: Your Cappellini bench seats resemble a sack or basket or perhaps a sailing vessel? What’s your inspiration or take on its organic shape?

YM/SA: The main idea is to take very thin wooden veneer, to fold it into a volumetric shape (like packaging) and then to fill it with polyurethane foam (that actually being used for building ships) so it might be possible to actually float on the water with it; but I wouldn’t try it… We wanted to create stool that will be folded from one sheet of veneer, and this is where the shape came from.

FYD: If you had to sit in a different chair for five days of the work week; what chair would you chose each day?

YM/SA: Yael just got a new chair: Posture Kneeling Chair, which I believed designed and made by Norwegian company, it’s quite unique and so far Yael find it very comfortable. Apart from that we use any random chair that we found around the studio…. But if we could choose.. Maybe a kind of hammock ?

FYD: Where do you like to travel for inspiration and energy?

YM/SA: It happens we don’t get inspired so much when we travel…at least not in a direct way. Last year we travelled in India for one month and didn’t think of design at all, which was great relief and fun, we will probably go back at one point. In general, Shay likes mountains and finds them super powerful, Yael likes hot weather and it better humid!

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