Exhibition: ‘Rod Arad: No Discipline’ at the Centre Pompidou, Paris

Exhibition dates: 20th November 2008 – 16th March 2009


Ron Arad (British, b. 1951) 'Acrylic Oh Void 2' 2004


Ron Arad (British born Israel, b. 1951)
Acrylic Oh Void 2
66 x 115 x 58cm



One of my favourite designers!


The Centre Pompidou is to devote an exhibition to the work of British architect and designer Ron Arad, his first major one-person show in France. From its beginnings, the Centre has played a key role in presenting design and designers to the wider public, with exhibitions such as Design Français 1960-1990 (1988), Manifeste: 30 ans de création en perspective, 1960-1990 (1992) and D. Day, le design aujourd’hui (2005), as well as monographic exhibitions devoted to such figures as Carlo Mollino (1989), Ettore Sottsass (1994), Gaetano Pesce (1996), Philippe Starck (2003), Charlotte Perriand (2005), and now Ron Arad.

Born in Tel Aviv and trained at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, Arad moved to London in 1973 to study at the Architectural Association. Having settled in the British capital, he has since produced a diverse array of objects, sinusoidal, elliptical or ovoid in form, from one-offs to limited editions to mass-produced pieces. Mention of Ron Arad’s name immediately brings to mind such pieces as the Bookworm bookshelf (1993) and the Tom Vac chair (1997) but, his ground breaking work, has taken him beyond conventional categorisation: a creator who recognises no a priori boundaries, who in his practice moves freely between architecture, design and the visual arts.

In 1987, he was invited by the Centre Pompidou to participate in the exhibition Nouvelles tendances: Les avant-gardes de la fin du XXème siècle, and he has several pieces in the design collection of the Musée national d’art moderne / Centre de création industrielle. This retrospective will present emblematic examples of Arad’s work as a designer, from prototypes to mass-produced objects, as well as a number of architectural projects, together with audio-visual documentation.

Ron Arad’s design for the exhibition in the Galerie Sud draws the visitor into a strikingly distinctive world. The first space offers an identical reproduction of his foyer and staircase for the Tel Aviv Opera House (1994), onto whose elliptical form is projected a film on the Holon Design Museum currently under construction, while plasma screens on the wall present some two dozen of his architectural projects. Beyond this reconstruction, a luminous divide revealing the mysterious silhouettes of objects beyond delimits an intermediate space in which are displayed one-off pieces, prototypes and limited editions. This long ribbon also encloses another space, visible from the street, where visitors and passers-by will find a scaffolding composed of a multitude tubes of varying diameters housing examples of mass-produced pieces, while others contain small screens showing videos. On the floor are more pieces, some of them mobile, equally visible from the street.

The work exhibited illustrates as well as Arad’s long-standing interest in technology, the way in which innovative research, materials engineering and the use of high-precision machinery are combined in unique experiments: sculptural chairs in carbon fibre or silicone, vases produced by stereolithography, lamps that receive and display text messages. And in his work for manufacturers, these technical and formal innovations find expression in the design of everyday objects. Arad’s architecture is equally idiosyncratic, identifiable by its deployment of a formal vocabulary that suggests the application of design to space, as in his Y’s Store for designer Yohji Yamamoto in Tokyo, the Duomo hotel in Italy, and the Holon Design Museum in Israel.

After the Centre Pompidou, the Ron Arad exhibition will be shown at MoMA, New York, from July 28 to October 19 2009, and then at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in the Spring of 2010.

Press release from The Centre Pompidou website


Ron Arad (British, b. 1951) 'Big Soft Easy' 1990


Ron Arad (British born Israel, b. 1951)
Big Soft Easy
Polyurethane padding and wooden structure. Textile covering warp and weft of 100% brushed wool in bright red colour. Beveled armrest foam
92 x 125 x 93cm
Purchase, 1992


Ron Arad (British, b. 1951) 'Uncut' 1997


Ron Arad (British born Israel, b. 1951)
Vacuum cast aluminium sheet. Base in polished stainless steel. Unmoulding of the Tom Vac chair
83 x 98 x 89cm
Don de Facom, 1999


Ron Arad (British, b. 1951) 'FPE (Fantastic Plastic Elastic)' 1998


Ron Arad (British born Israel, b. 1951)
FPE (Fantastic Plastic Elastic)
Polypropylene copolymer sheet coloured in the mass. Injection moulding. Painted extruded aluminium structure
80 x 43 x 55cm
Don de The Gallery Mourmans, 2003


'Rod Arad: No Discipline' catalogue cover


Rod Arad: No Discipline catalogue cover



Centre Pompidou
Place Georges-Pompidou
75004 Paris

Opening hours:
The Centre Pompidou is open every day except Tuesdays and May 1st – 11am to 9pm

Centre Pompidou website


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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

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