The Urban Woodshop of Gal Tel Vardi
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I met Gal Tel Vardi about fifteen years ago when I spent a semester as a visiting lecturer at Shenkar College of Design. Gal (“Wave” in Hebrew) was the head of the advanced fabrication workshop, overseeing (among other things) the laser cutting machines, rapid prototyping, and CNC machines that helped our students execute their prototype ideas more quickly and with greater precision.
My mission as a professor of furniture design and woodworking was to teach our students how to master the “old world” woodworking tools and techniques, from the safe use of bandsaws to the correct handling of a chisel. Gal, on the other hand, was positioned at the other end of the tech spectrum, dealing with screens, computer programs, and algorithms. So when I visited his workshop for the first time, I expected to meet a modernist tech fanatic who doesn’t know or care about traditional woodworking, let alone the history of furniture design. But boy, was I wrong.
During our first conversion, I learned that Gal had graduated from some prestigious furniture manufacturing certification programs (in France and Switzerland) and was lucky enough to be an apprentice under the guidance of some acclaimed manufacturers. His training included inlay, veneer, traditional carpentry and carcass design, as well as relief carving and wood preservation techniques. The person I met was a true Renaissance man who housed a sea of knowledge ranging from ancient woodworking to the most recent achievements of our field.
Gal is a disciple of the European woodworking tradition. His training included inlay, veneer, traditional carpentry and carcass design, as well as relief carving and wood preservation techniques.
After returning to Israel from Europe, he devoted his time to furniture restoration, teaching and lecturing on furniture design and history, and finally founding the rapid prototyping workshop in Shenkar.
Like most Israelis, he lives in a small apartment. His condominium is located on the Mediterranean border of Tel Aviv, a few hundred meters from the waves. In order to be as close to his work as possible, he decided that his apartment can also serve as a surfboard studio and storage (Gal is an avid surfer). Call it a design workshop, home studio or Urban Woodshop, Gal’s apartment is a place that allows him to generate his dreams and ideas and create small to medium sized furniture and more.
Below, you can see and read about his Urban Woodshop, his projects, and how he negotiates life and work in the same space. Gal’s special solution may not work for everyone, but if you can’t justify renting a dedicated studio space, you should definitely take some ideas from this talented Israeli artist.
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