Yonathan Moore, Greatness In The Making
I had the opportunity of interviewing Israeli French architect and designer Yonathan Moore for NYCxDesign 2023. Yonathan, showed off his latest lighting collection, Optical Monuments which were featured during NYCxDesign week. Below, you will also get to know more about the greatness of Yonathan Moore. So, here we go!
Hello Yonathan, it is a pleasure to interview you.
First, we would love to know where you are from and your journey to moving to NYC?
I was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. I moved to London to study architecture at the Architectural Association in 2012, and then moved to New York to do my masters in architecture at Columbia in 2015.
What inspired you to get into architecture?
I’m a third generation architect, which definitely helped with exposing me to the profession.
When I was very young, my grandfather would have me over to do sketching practice at his studio and apartment in Tel Aviv— going through the basics of composition, how to hold the pencil right or draw curves properly. I was the only grandkid that did that, and it was very special. He was most known for brutalist designs in the desert. My dad took over the company and expanded business into Europe, working on large-scale commercial projects.
But the truth is that I went into it out of love for the practice and the theory. The crossing of design and problem solving—together with thinking about the smallest details and how they affect the largest systems—always fascinated me. As well as the actual production and the rigorous process that it follows: from making experimental models and sketches to detailed drawings and final renders.
When did you know this was not only a passion of yours, but something that would make you very successful?
I would like to believe that it started in my early education. I was so ADD that I couldn’t stay still at my classroom desk and would always start making little craft projects five minutes into class to the point that I was known by all the teachers for this. Eventually they gave up trying to discipline me and just let me do it.
This continued into my architectural education where I would find every opportunity to be in the wood, metal, and digital fabrication workshops. Every project I worked on relied mainly on architectural models, most of which ended up becoming light sculptures scattered across my apartment.
How long did it take you to design your very first piece and where did the inspiration come for it?
The initial design of my first piece, the Obelisk light sculpture, came about quite quickly during one of my last days at grad school at Columbia, while working in the workshop and playing around on the CNC with a few acrylic pieces I had put aside. The development of that design—from a test piece I had in my apartment into a finished light sculpture shown at my gallery—took about a year and a half of rare moments when I had some free time from my architecture job and access to a workshop. The design drew inspiration from art deco forms as well as stripped-down, simplified, postmodern forms. The intention was to suggest what those forms evoke in one’s mind, rather than a literal representation of a specific building or architectural style.
What would you consider your favorite sculpture that you have designed so far?
It’s hard to choose since they are all so different, but maybe, just by way of nostalgia, it would be the series of ceramic sculptures I made during a two-week residency at a ceramic studio outside of Barcelona called Ceràmica Cumella. The sculpture was made of two types of pieces that can either connect to each other or weave into each other and interlock in a way that reads as two bodies coming together in a variety of pleasurable positions.
When was your first time showing your collection at NYCxDesign and how did you prepare for such a week?
My first time showing was last year and it was definitely a hectic few weeks of production to get all the collection and new pieces I was showing ready and then making sure they are all installed properly at the gallery.
What is next for Yonathan Moore?
I am already working on new collections for another exhibition at Tuleste in the fall and experimenting with lamp designs with new and exciting materials, including aluminum foam and coral stone. Eventually, I’d love to expand into furniture and object design, as well as lighting.
What advice can you give those who are following in your footsteps?
Keep making things and putting them out there.
Featured Image By: _Jake Nathanson & Amanda Pinto