Tel-Aviv, Israel
Meir, 36
Designer
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a bit about Meir

What are you working on?

Acting as a creative director at a content agency based in Tel Aviv; working on various independent projects in the fields of Interactive and Type Design; teaching at a local design college.

What drives you mad these days?

The inexplicability of wanting to live here and not wanting to live here at the same time. This place is fucked up in so many ways, yet I can’t imagine myself growing old anywhere else in the world. This is my home, I love it and hate it at the same time.

What makes you happy?

Waking up in the morning and having a cup of coffee; sharing a meal or a drink with a good friend; kicking back and watching TV until my eyes bleed.

When was the last time you cried?

I saw Xavier Dolan’s movie Mommy and just couldn’t help myself and broke down near the end. I tend to get emotionally attached to characters in films and TV shows and I can start tearing up with the slightest trigger.

What is playing in your earphones nowadays?

Right now I’m a little obsessed with Clean Bandit’s New Eyes – I love how they embed some classics within their pop music. And always one of the dredg albums, usually El Cielo or Catch Without Arms. I love concept albums that are complete creations, that you can listen to from the beginning to the end and kind of “read” into them as a single piece of work.

What was the last movie you went to?

I think it was “Ant Man” and it was very entertaining. If I go to the movies it’s probably because I heard the film has to be experienced on a big screen, and it’s almost always an action/adventure film. I prefer to watch movies at home so I usually wait for them to be released on DVD.

When it’s time for a new wardrobe, where do you go?

I tend to keep shopping sprees for trips abroad, like Berlin, Stockholm, New York or London, where there’s more interesting options for men’s wear. At home I will usually go to H&M. I try to stick to the basics when it comes to clothing because the Israeli climate rarely calls for any overgarments or accessories.

What’s your go-to café in Tel Aviv?

I hold most of my meetings at Nechama Vachetzi since it’s big and central, and there’s almost always a place to sit. My “go-to” café in terms of actually having coffee at is Nola, an American bakery serving muffins, biscuits and Whoopie Pies.

Where’s your favourite street or neighbourhood to wander in Tel Aviv?

I love the neighborhood around Lewinsky Market. It’s a rough mix of old & new, with lots of little surprises on the way like an impromptu beer garden, an old van to sip espressos in and stuffy stores with nostalgic candy and cheap toys.

What do you LOVE to do in the city but never actually do?

I wish I’d be able to get myself out of bed early in the morning to go to the beach before it’s too hot and crowded (but just after they clean up yesterday’s trash) for an early morning dip. Then maybe get Eggs Florentine at Benedict.

Who’s your hero and where would you take them out to eat or drink in Tel Aviv?

My hero is my piano teacher from when I was little. I never became a musician but she was the first person to show me what being an artist meant, and that creativity can be a profession. I would take her to a picnic at the “White Plaza” – an urban sculpture by Dani Karavan located on the highest hill in the city, on its eastern border. It was created as an homage to the founders of Tel Aviv and includes a watch tower, a pyramid, a concave amphitheater and a halved dome. Each of those structures corresponds in some way to the city’s history and its style, but that doesn’t matter – even without knowing any of its backstory, it’s a mesmerizing, timeless masterpiece. We’d walk around the sculpture and explore it together, then sit on the grassy hill and look at the city.

What would make a perfect day in the sun for you?

It’d start with coffee at the kiosk on Ben Zion Blvd. I’d find a bench to while away some time under the trees, then visit museum or stroll through the winding corridors of Dizengoff Center (and maybe catch a movie). After that, either a pita at the Miznon or a quick Sabich and a walk through Gan Meir or on the beach.

It’s raining for days and you’re sick of staying at home – where would you go?

I love staying at home, so that’s unlikely (also, rain in Tel Aviv is a two-minute phenomenon). But if you twist my arm, I’ll probably take you to Shishko, a Bulgarian “Hamara” (a den of sorts) with a good beer selection and lots of little dishes to share and dip your tiny Challah in. And I mean that literally.

What’s a place in Tel Aviv you feel like only you know about?

I don’t think I have a spot that is truly secret in the city (and if I did and I told you about it – I’d probably have to kill you), but the time on Friday just before the Sabbath sets is the quietest time of the week. During that time, if you go to the fenced beach near Hilton – that’s the segregated part of the beach for religious bathers – you’d probably be the only one there. Once you’re there, head towards the breakwater and just before you reach it, at the edge of the beach there’s a pond-like enclave of shallow waters with smooth sandy surface and tiny fish that swim and nibble around your feet. You can sit there and watch the sunset, listening to the gentle sound of water reaching the shore.

If tomorrow was your last day in Tel Aviv before you left for good, how would you spend it?

I’d do that early beach thing I never do, then hit Cafelix for some locally roasted cappuccino. I’d then go down Rothschild Blvd to Neve Tzedek, and then all the way down to Jaffa and the flea market to visit friends and get Hummus for lunch. After that, I’d visit my studio near Rabin Square and sit on the porch overlooking Chen Blvd and have a beer with my friends there. At night I’d probably go to A La Rampa and have their amazing polenta and whisky-glazed caramelized pears for dessert.

If you were given a choice, mayor of which neighborhood would you be?

Mine, the “Old North” neighborhood. It’s the most boring neighborhood so the mayor’s agenda will include things like someone making a racket at nighttime and repainting some crossroads that faded. I think it’s the best place to live in the city because it’s quiet and clean while also central, but if you want “action” then get the hell out of my turf, buster!

What’s the place in Tel Aviv you’ll never be caught dead in?

The sleazy strips of bars on Ben Yehuda and Dizengoff. They have those wooden tables out with masses of people sitting there, all cooped up in rows. Those places disgust me. Why would someone want to be all huddled up like that? I mean, for more than five seconds?

What do you love doing the most that is not work, relationship or family related?

I love type spotting – walking around the city, looking for interesting signs and writings. Tel Aviv, like many other cities, suffers from a decline in the type quality of signs. Old, hand-painted signs get taken down and replaced by bland, vinyl-based plot-cut letters. There are some rare occurrences of vintage signs and reliefs around the city, mostly in the southern neighborhoods where there’s still some older mom-and-pop stores and less resources for the city to get rid of old signs. Me and my friend Ofer organize a scavenger hunt from time to time, honoring singular signs and typographies in the urban wild. It’s a lot of fun and it gets people involved in their city in a way many of them didn’t think about before.

When you feel like going on a night out, what’s the first place you usually consider going to?

I rarely go out, but if I really want to dance then the first place I think about is The Block. It’s got the best sound system and the parties usually feature high-profile DJs from all over the world. Its location in the central bus station is also convenient because you can get the 4/5 buses or sheirut taxis to and from the venue. The other two places I’d consider going to, by the way, are Pasaz and Deli.

You’ve just got the best news ever, where would you go to celebrate and with whom?

If it’s family related then I’d go somewhere fancy like a chef restaurant – i.e. Taizu or Raphael; for friends it’d have to be somewhere fun where I know the people like A La Rampa or Hanoi.

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