That New York visit led Tadmor to industrial design studies at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, where his favourite courses were those that involved graphic design. These provided him, he says, with a different platform not only in terms of dimensions (two instead of three) but also in terms of pace: whereas two-dimensional design is faster and takes only days from sketch to product, three-dimensional design is a matter of months; and architectural design – with which he is also familiar, as a former owner of an architectural and interior design imaging studio – takes years to materialize.
Tadmor likes the immense diversity of industrial design, ranging from life-saving products to fun, humorous stuff. After graduating in 2002 he worked for several agencies designing commercial products. It was an interesting step back from Bezalel, where form followed function, to the world of mass consumption where form was at the centre. Today he tries to convey his passion for the field as a design teacher: "working with student is one of my greatest joys, it provides a break from designing in front of a computer screen".
First products with Monkey Business
The first samples came back from the factory with slightly faulty design, copied from an incomplete sketch, so that Avichai and Oded had to make their corrections on the model itself and send it back to China. There were also assembly problems that forced them to dump a large number of samples.
The process was far from simple or easy, yet Avichai says that there is nothing more exciting than holding the first model of a product he designed: "That is the moment when you realise that you actually created something out of nothing, that your sketches have become a tangible object. It is nice to see your product in the store, but receiving that first model is the most rewarding moment – in many ways similar to birth. It is the peak of the purely creative process; what comes afterwards mainly concerns your ego." Tadmor has a soft spot for Geppetto, a highly graphic product, and is content that they could make it reasonably-priced, allowing Geppetto a place on every desktop.
Something fishy under that pot
Just then, in an exhibition of old photographs depicting everyday life in Tel Aviv of the 1930's, He came across the photo of a fisherman carrying on his shoulder a fishing wire with his daily catch of fresh fish. Tadmor started experimenting with fish of various shapes and colours, looking for the best design in terms of both usability and aesthetics. The final design was inspired by the visual language of another MB product, Amidov's Boris mobile phone holder
The oversized sharpener
Karoto, Tadmor's biggest commercial success to date, started off as an extension to Geppetto. Avichai envisioned a snowman-shaped sharpener, whose carrot-like nose would be an eraser. Oded Friedland then came up with the idea to make it an actual carrot; Tadmor thought it could be an actual lifelike sharpener. The blown-up sharpener (and peeler) proved a huge success already when shown to distributors: "People love to hold it, they like the change of proportion – it's like being Alice in Wonderland". The final product maintained the yellow colour of Tadmor's pencil sharpener used to test the idea; the black version was added later following demand from distributors.
Cabina - Peg holder
The initial idea for Cabina was to design laundry pegs, But after some research I realized that there are many designed pegs out there, and that led me to design an accessory for pegs storage.
The inspiration for the cable car came from the observation that the container requires a movement element, so as to keep the pegs close to the ‘next’ item along the clothes line.
The main design challenge was to find the correct balance between function, form and size.
The Italian Job
Farfalloni - pot grips
Farfalle shaped silicone grips for handling hot pots and other hot handles. Initially the grips resembled a set of clips and the process saw Tadmor develop a large-scale version that functioned as a bag clip. Following this, the item was made even larger and the material changed to rubber – in order for it to turn into a pot grip.
Penneli - Garlic peeler
The ‘penneli’ is a silicone tube resembling a large piece of penne and functions as a miraculous garlic peeler. Peels garlic cloves quickly and easily by rolling them in the tube.
The packaging for both products was influenced by traditional italian pasta packs.
The Cucumbo - Spiral slicer
Since designing the karoto, carrot peeler and sharpener, Avichai has been working in the kitchen cutting and slicing creative new vegetable shapes. while utilizing various kitchen tools to make spiral shapes he developed a bolt-shaped accessory that can be turned around vegetables in the same way you would use a screw.
The slicer enables you to assemble the thin cuts into different spiral formations, mixing up the regular presentation of daily food items.
Catering to the emotional need
Tadmor says that the products he and others design are no longer triggered by actual, physical need, but rather an emotional and aesthetic one: "We have all the products that we need nowadays. We seek to design products that generate a sense of excitement, originality, playfulness and humor."
His work on a new product, he says, starts with days of just collecting images, visual ideas: "Thinking comes afterwards," he says, "I am still trying to understand how it works, how I come up with an idea, the way I now understand the process that led to my previous designs."
The success of Karoto led Avichai to focus on kitchenware. He found many old "food design" products in his parents' kitchen that will probably inspire some of his next products: "In the past only professional chefs used such products, but now there's more public demand for them".
The last two years with Monkey Business made Tadmor more aware of the production process and its requirements, which he now takes into consideration already in the planning process. It naturally leads to design which is less naïve, he says, but on the other hand – it allows him to see more of his original ideas come to life.