Designer Aya Zehavi was born in Israel in 1985 and studied at the Hulon Institute of Technology (H.I.T.), earning a Bachelor’s degree in Product Design in 2015. After graduating, Zehavi took on an internship at Studio Kahn, a contemporary ceramic design studio based near Tel Aviv. In 2016, she relocated to Berlin and established her eponymous studio.
Zehavi’s work is mostly focused around table-top objects, vessels, and concept-driven home accessories. Her practice is very process-based with the pieces resulting from her material experimentation and imaginative sketches always bearing clear evidence of the design process. In the Qumran (2017) series of vases, for example, each unique, handmade vessel is revealed through a sort of mock-archeological excavation of the piece from its mold, leaving imprints and textures on the otherwise smooth, white surface. The designer calls this blend of careful planning and happenstance in her work “spontaneous aesthetics”—an entirely fitting label for her approach and the element of surprise in her designs—and goes on to say that “my biggest inspirations are mistakes. For me, these are the closest encounters with what I can call the truth.”
Royal Foil (2016) is perhaps Zehavi’s best known work to date. The project comprises a tableware series made from household aluminium foil; the material is unrolled, formed, and compressed, then crafted in a process akin to woodturning. The surprisingly refined surface that is achieved amounts to an almost alchemical transformation of the material and has garnered the designer considerable attention. Royal Foil has been exhibited at Milan Design Week, the Berlin Design Festival (DMY), Tawain Design Week, and Jerusalem Design Week, amongst others. Zehavi continues to live and work in Berlin.