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Start-Up Jerusalem: A New Home For High-End Design

Start-Up Jerusalem: A New Home For High-End Design

The “YH” in the name of the swanky YH4 Architects’ Gallery is for Yad Harutzim (loosely translated as “Striver’s Row’’), the name of the Jerusalem street where the Gallery established itself this past year. YH4 is a leader in the budding revival of the city’s dowdy Talpiot industrial district. The neighborhood’s car dealerships, retail and wholesale enterprises and fast-food restaurants are conspicuous, but some of the city’s premier cultural and business start-ups are hidden from the eye. One of YH4’s neighbors on the fourth floor of an aging grey-cement building is the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School.

Once you leave the creaky elevator and make your way through the outdoor corridor to YH4’s glass entranceway, “you feel like you are in Manhattan,” as Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat commented on Facebook. So far, architects, design professionals, home-buyers and random visitors (the space is open to the public) are finding much to like. The founders describe YH4 as a gallery, showroom and workspace. On display are some of the most elegant fixtures, furniture, kitchens, and home electronic systems available in Israel. But beyond the upscale imports, there is an emphasis on the home grown, from an ecological wall (combining the ancient cooling elements of clay and water) to the pop-up stores featuring innovative works by up-and-coming Israeli designers.

Architect and design curator Gal Gaon chose his collection’s sliced-clouds coffee tables and metal origami wall pieces for his recent pop-up store at YH4. He notes that the YH4 provides Israel’s first open commercial space for architects and designers to work together and learn from each other. The gallery offers public talks by leading architects (“How will architects shape the city’s future?” was the first topic in an ongoing roundtable) and a professional library for browsers. “Of course, home buyers are a key focus,” founding partner Netanel Mayer is quick to add, “they are the ultimate beneficiaries of our collaborations.”

Eva L. Weiss is a writer and editor who lives in Jerusalem.

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