Designer Spotlight: Ron Arad

Ron Arad is a familiar figure in the art and design world. He launched his illustrious career in 1981 with the creation of an unusual piece of furniture called the Rover chair. It was a fusion of two ready-made items or “found objects”—a car seat and a structural tubing frame.

Rover Chair (Source: Dezeen)

He has a knack for combining ready-made materials and transforming it into an entirely different context, often without a connection to their original intended purpose.


Ron Arad grew up with artist parents.  Mother painter, father sculptor and photographer.  He was born in Tel Aviv in 1951, and studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Art before moving to London. There, he continued studying at the Architectural Association under the tutelage of Peter Cook and Bernard Tschumi.

In 1981, together with Caroline Thorman he founded  One Off Ltd in Covent Garden, London. The space was used as a design studio, workshop, exhibition space and showroom.

Eight years later, he founded Ron Arad Associates, architecture and design studio, and later on, incorporated it with One Off Ltd. He established Ron Arad Studio in Como and used it to continue producing pieces originating from his London workshops.

He was professor of Design at the Hochschule in Vienna from 1994 to 1997, and later Professor of Design Products at the Royal College of Art in London up until 2009, when he was made Professor Emeritus.  In 2013, the Royal Academy of Art in London elected him as a Royal Academician, and he regularly lectures internationally

Design Philosophy

He has always been an early adopter of new materials and technologies. When he works on materials like steel, aluminum, and polyamide, he experiments and reinterprets its form and structure into radically transformed works of design that have his stamp on them.

As a design teacher, The Guardian said that he “wasn’t interested in teaching people how to be professional industrial designers: he wanted to teach them how to think for themselves, and a generation of designers graduated wanting to work just as he did – as a designer-maker, free from the technical constraints set by manufacturers.”

Arad’s creative process involves both functional and artistic elements. He says in The Independent article, “The idea might, in essence, be sculptural but to execute it convincingly you have to be a bloody good industrial designer. You have to know about plastics, about mechanics, about furniture. I enjoy inventing new ways of making things.”

Famous Projects

Arad has collaborated with recognizable names in pop culture and luxury brands such as Moroso, Swarovski, Kenzo, Alessi, Magis, Driade, Vitra and Fiam.

The Alphabet & Number series by Ron Arad for Swarovski (Source: Atelier Swarovski)

His projects include the Watergate Hotel in Washington DC, (include pictures), Maserati Headquarters Showroom in Italy, the Selfridges Technology Hall in London, Sheikh Saud Al-Thani’s living and dining room at his Villa in Doha, Qatar, the Tel Aviv Opera Foyer in Israel, and the Design Museum Holon, Israel’s first museum dedicated to design, among others.

Maserati Headquarters Showroom in Italy (Source: Ron Arad)

Sheikh Saud Al-Thani’s villa in Doha, Qatar (Source: Ron Arad)

The Tel Aviv Opera Foyer in Israel (Source: Ron Arad)

Design Museum Holon in Israel (Source: Ron Arad)

His design projects extend to personal effects such as perfume bottle for Kenzo, which Arad was commissioned for, and an ongoing collaboration with pq Eyewear.

Ron Arad’s perfume flask for Kenzo (Source: Packaging Design Archive)

He also set up an installation at the Israel Museum in 2012 that was called “720 Degrees” (a reincarnation of Curtain Call installation at the Roundhouse in London, and which is to be reinstalled in August 2016 as part of the Roundhouse Anniversary celebrations). It was set within the sculpture garden that consisted of 5,600 silicon rods shaped in the form of a circle 26 feet above. Visitors were able to view projected images by standing inside or outside the structure.


Arad currently has two major artworks displayed in London – Spyre in the Courtyard at the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly, and Thought of Train of Thought (TOTOT) at St Pancras International Station, along with an exhibition entitled ‘Summer Exhibition’ at Ben Brown Fine Arts in Mayfair.


In 2002, Arad received the Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) award in recognition for his “sustained excellence in aesthetic and efficient design for industry.”

In 2011, he was awarded the London Design Medal. He was elected as Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Art in London in 2013, and awarded the Compasso D’oro lifetime achievement award in Milan in 2016. He continues to teach his craft and share his work in major museums and galleries worldwide, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y; Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and the Vitra Design Museum, Germany, among many others.

Recently, Arad collaborated with Revolution Precrafted to design the Armadillo Tea Pavilion. Its basic configuration is comprised of five moulded shells, each made of repeatable, modular components that are mechanically fixed together. It was designed to be structurally independent, and can be installed as a free-standing element or as an outdoor pavilion.

Revolution Precrafted, in partnership with Paddle8 will also be featuring the Armadillo Tea Pavilion by Ron Arad in the Tuileries Garden by the Louvre Museum in Paris from October 20 – 23, 2016.

Auctionata | Paddle8 is the global online leader in art and luxury collectibles. Through innovative livestream auction formats, charity auctions, private sales, and a curated online shop, the recently merged platforms offer a seamless online process to sell and purchase art, design, classic cars, watches, jewelry, wine and real estate.

With around 800,000 registered users, Auctionata | Paddle8 is one of the ten biggest auction houses worldwide outside of China. The company has offices in Berlin, New York, London, Los Angeles, Rome, Zurich, and Madrid and is thus represented in the most important international markets.

The Pavilion will be offered in a Post-War & Contemporary Art Auction livestream on Auctionata and curated by Paddle8. € 200,000 – € 250,000.

The auction, livestream on the 5th of December, is part of a week of livestream auctions running from the 29th November through to the 5th of December: The Paddle8 Pad: live from our London townhouse. This week will include 10 livestream sales, curated by Paddle8, that span all aspects of the modern collector’s lifestyle: post-war & contemporary art, prints & multiples, photographs, luxury accessories, and design objects.

The Post-War & Contemporary Art Auction online catalogue will be available from 5th November.

Register and bid on Ron Arad’s Armadillo Tea Canopy on

Together with Ron Arad’s Armadillo Pavilion, Manila-based artist, Gordon Lee, is set to feature his artworks in a private gathering of VIPs in Paris. Lee has a deep understanding of nature and color, which is evident in his works, as he specializes in highly realistic and exquisite portraits and figures. To view Gordon’s artworks, please visit his website here: