After coming across one of Lightexture‘s incredible lighting animations I decided to find out a little more about the duo behind these luminous wonders. I asked Yael Ere and Avner Ben Natan to tell me a bit about themselves, their Lightexture collaboration and their dazzling illumination. Here’s what they had to say…
Tell us a bit about yourselves.
Avner: I was born in Israel in 1974, and now I live and work with Yael in a studio apartment on the Lower East Side of New York. I’ve been writing Hebrew poetry and screenplays and also doing lighting for films since high school. In 2006 I moved to New York to be with Yael. She’s an architect and designer, and we started designing lamps together. We inspire each other and contribute to the work from different directions, which keeps us motivated.
About a year after I started working with Yael we met the ceramic artist Sharan Elran and began collaborating with him on creating and inventing ceramic fixtures and chandeliers. It’s beautiful for me to see how the many components that we bring to the table combine in the finished product. As for writing, in the recent years I have composed music for some of the poetry I wrote, and I’m more busy these days singing, recording and arranging my work.
Yael: I am an architect — I teach architecture at Pratt Institute and also taught at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Columbia University and Cooper Union. I was born in Israel and my mom is an artist, art history teacher and a poet. I was very much influenced by my mom to go towards the arts, while my father’s business background inspired my architectural direction. I see architecture as the mother of all arts — it is the largest scale form of art.
Avner and I were in the same class in high school and reconnected fifteen years later. Our relationship began when we were in very different creative focuses, and only a few years later we started to collaborate on the creation of lights and spaces. Our partnership is extending each of our sensibilities to unexpected zones.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Avner: I still work occasionally as a lighting designer or as a lighting assistant for films and television. I’m also in a band and lately I’ve been busy recording our music.
Yael: Most of what I do is creative to some degree; I’m a practicing architect and I teach architecture, which sets the stage for the development and creativity of my students. I am also part of the King Dancer band with Avner.
Please describe your work and your creative process.
Avner: There are many parts to my work. I design with my partners, and I consider myself responsible for the lighting properties, the electrical aspects and some of the ideas. Then I put everything together with my hands and tools: clay pieces by Sharan, kitchenware, hardware parts and lighting components I find on the Internet.
Yael: As Avner described, we work as a team. I mostly contribute from the design point of view, involved in design, drawings, concept, installation planning and all of the graphic design aspects. We develop our ideas together, usually Avner and Sharan physically construct the pieces. When we develop ideas about new adventures we either begin through building a mockup, a prototype, or developing sketches and drawings and improve from there. I build sketch models to explore ideas — materials vary based on the project at hand from computer generated models, plasteline clay to hammered sheet metal and ready-made parts.
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