Since 1906, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem has been on the cutting edge of Israel’s art culture.

But art isn’t only about decoration.

Practical ideas in industrial design coming from Bezalel students in past years include the Earthquake Proof Table, capable of sheltering students from earthquakes and up to two tons of debris, now permanently displayed in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Senior projects for the 2017 academic year by 420 Bezalel graduates included the following three innovative product ideas to improve quality of life for different populations.

Connect

Amir Argov noted a significant increase in the number of natural disasters occurring in the world, and conceived of a kit that people in affected areas could use quickly to assemble emergency supplies and furniture, such as crutches and chairs, from lightweight corrugated cardboard and plastic joints.

“Connect is a project that aims to restore life to normal, when the most basic things fall apart under your feet and there is a need to return to a natural environment where you can eat, sleep, play and especially live,” said Argov.

“The set of parts offered by this project enables easy and ecological collection of objects that will enable the population to return to life.”

Amir Argov’s Connect kit contains parts for fast construction of items like crutches and chairs. Photo by Oded Antman

Rolys

Gal Gez Tzafrir designed these acoustic partitions out of beech wood, acoustic melamine sponge and fabric as a solution for hearing-impaired preschoolers who can become overwhelmed with stimuli in the classroom.

“The kindergarten is one big space where children do a lot of things: playing, learning, talking and dancing. Vision is an inseparable part of our attention, so when there are a lot of stimuli it is hard for kids to concentrate,” said Tzafrir.

“For hearing-impaired kids it can be even more difficult. This project was carried out with the goal of developing a tool for integrating children with hearing disabilities into mainstream preschools and creating new environments within the school that screen the sounds, stimuli and visuals while maintaining small, educational and playful environments that enable concentration and thus better hearing.”

Rolys acoustic panels could help hearing-impaired preschoolers integrate into a mainstream class. Photo by Oded Antman

Collie

Tal Ariel designed the Collie shoe collection for adults with disabilities that prevent them from tying their shoes without assistance.

The sturdy shoes open and expand simply, making it easier to insert the foot. And they feature an anchor on the bottom that enables the person to maintain the correct placement of his or her feet while sitting in a wheelchair.

Collie shoes are easy to put on and secure, and have an anchor on the bottom to enable sturdy wheelchair placement. Photo by Oded Antman