Ron Arad, Design Maverick and Superstar of London Art

The London-based artist and architect, born in Israel in 1951, is without a doubt one of the most influential designers of our time, whose creations -from unique pieces of sculpture to everyday objects such as the iconic Bookworm shelves and Tom Vac chair- have already become modern classics. His work -which was shown last year at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris- is currently exhibited at the Barbican Art Gallery. Here, he reveals to Chic-Londres some of his personality traits.

The character trait that defines me the mostLaziness.

If I could change something in the way I lookI would have a head full of hair.

What I most value in my friendsBenevolent intelligence, which I define as the kind of intelligence that goes with being a good person, as opposed to nasty intelligence.

Faults that I am most likely to forgiveMistakes that come from good intentions.

My favourite hobbiesPlaying Snatch, which is like Scrabble on steroids, and the best game in the world. I also like ping pong.

My idea of happinessAchieving the best way to cultivate laziness with work and play.

My most beautiful memoryThere are so many, but the best are linked with childhood, both mine and and my daughters’.

What would be the worst that could happen to me (apart from losing loved ones)From where I stand, I can see a major global disaster coming, not just with tsunamis and earthquakes, but also because what people do to others.

My dream job when I was a kidExactly what I am doing today, namely to not have a job but to play and be rewarded for it.

If I was an animal, I would beAn elephant in a china shop.

My favourite bookFor a long time, it was Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, as I used to identify a lot to its main character Yossarian. But I would have to review it now, as I might have distanced myself from him now.

My favourite artistsMarcel Duchamp and Bob Dylan.

My favourite filmMiracle in Milan, by Vittorio de Sica.

My favourite songI was dancing in the lesbian bar, by Jonathan Richman.

Who or what I love most in the worldPeople.

People I most admire in real lifeTeachers, nurses and firemen.

My favourite first nameAlma, my wife’s.

My most treasured possessionPencils.

My favourite place in the worldHome.

What I hate the mostFundamntalism.

My biggest success so farGetting away with it.

My definition of loveThe impossibility of being without.

My definition of beautyA totally subjective thing that we want to believe is objective.

How I would like to dieI don’t.

How I would like to be rememberedWith a great exaggeration of my generosity, brilliance, talent, beauty, strength and sense of humour, or else they can forget me.

My current state of mindRestless.

My mottoNothing is as good as it seems and nothing is as bad as it seems.


The exhibition currently shown at the Barbican Art gallery explores three decades of Arad’s designs from his early post-punk approach of assembling products from readymade parts to his exclusive and highly polished sculptural furnishings. Highlighting the significance of experimentation, process and materials in Arad’s work, the exhibition offers an insight into the development of objects from initial idea and fabrication to finished design.

Ron Arad: Restless at the Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2 (Barbican), until 16 May 2010.