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MEITAL TZABARI, how to develop a sustainable material made from pressed fallen leaves

Words by Lula Criado

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I met Meital Tzabari —Israeli London-based furniture and product designer and maker— at the Designersblock exhibition during London Design Festival 2014. There she showed me her current project Re:connect.

Re:connect consists of the development of a new sustainable material made from pressed fallen leaves which can be shaped and sized in different pieces of furniture or surfaces. The very purpose of the Re:connect project is to explore the versatility of this sustainable composite material and to make it available for all and any interior-product design options, she said. 

Meital told me she finds inspiration in nature and autumn and explained that she collects the leaves from the parks of London and then, by using a non-toxic glue she adheres layers of leaves to create this renewable material. Leaves as sources of food, fibre, medical drugs or chemical products as aromatic oils are the most common uses of them.

Meital blurs the boundaries between design and environment and blends sustainable design innovation with raw materials and natural resources as fallen leaves to connect us with the natural world.

What is more important: to take or not to take yourself too seriously in order to be creative?

This is a question that I found really hard to answer, and then I realized that it was just because I took it too seriously, I decided to take it easy and just write what came to my mind without thinking too much – obviously, it was the answer that I was looking for!

Those things happen when I take it too seriously, the fear and doubts take over, so probably my answer is to take things seriously, but not to be afraid to just let it be.

What’s your favourite time of the day?

Definitely that moment when I just open my eyes, after a good night’s sleep. That wonderful second where I’m here but still remember ‘being there’ my dreams and the places I visited that night.

Some of those places and things I saw I will actually never forget. Then the first thing I do when I wake up is verbally say ‘Thank you’ for waking up to a new day.

Solitude or loneliness, how do you spend your time alone?

Solitude, I love being with people I love getting to know and meet more and more people and places, but all of those who I’ve met during my life and some of those places I’ve been to, wouldn’t have happened if I had been with other people, listening to my own instincts and just by myself only that is when the real magic’s happens.

Have you found beauty in unexpected places/situations?

The beauty of sadness, pain, a broken heart, and love The fact that our feelings are so dynamic and can be so extreme In one moment you could be happy, on top of the world, and on a different day low and miserable, and I truly think that it is amazing that one human being can go through a rainbow of emotions.

‘When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.’ ‘And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.’ (The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran)

What do you want to achieve before you die?

Just to be able to see the beauty of everything and everyone that has passed through my life, and to be able to express it before it is too late.

One for the road… What are you unafraid of?

The Truth, not knowing the truth is the thing that scares me the most.

(Photos courtesy of the artist)
On Key

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