Ron Arad: No Discipline at MOMA



No Discipline, a retrospective of British designer Ron Arad, will open at the Museum of Modern Art in New York next month.


Originally shown at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris last winter, the exhibition will feature approximately 140 works, most of which will be displayed in the large translucent structure specially designed for the exhibition by Arad (renders above, below and top).


Called Cage sans Frontières (Cage without Borders), the structure is made of Corten steel and stretches the length of the museum’s International Council Gallery in a figure of eight.


No Discipline is at MOMA from 2 August 2 to 19 October. Above: Rover Chair, 1981. Photograph by Eric and Petra Hesmerg. Courtesy of Private Collection, Maastricht.


Above: D-Sofa, prototype 1994. Photograph by Eric and Petra Hesmerg. Courtesy of Private Collection, USA.


All images are courtesy of Ron Arad Associates unless otherwise stated. Above: Pic Chair, 1997. Photograph by Eric and Petra Hesmerg. Courtesy of Private Collection, Maastricht.

More Dezeen stores about Ron Arad:

Ron Arad at Timothy Taylor Gallery
Guarded Thoughts by Ron Arad
Rotator by Ron Arad for Teuco
PizzaKobra for iGuzzini


Above: Panoramic Restaurant at Les Diablerets, Gstaad. Video, 2007.

Here's some information from MOMA:



The Museum of Modern Art presents Ron Arad: No Discipline, the first major U.S. retrospective of Arad’s work. Among the most influential designers of our time, Arad (British, b. Israel 1951) stands out for his daredevil curiosity about form, structure, technology, and materials and for the versatile nature of his work, which spans industrial design, hand-crafted studio pieces, sculpture, architecture, and mixed media installations.


Above: Y’s Store, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo. Video, 2003.

Arad’s relentless experimentation with the use of materials of all kinds—from steel, aluminum, and bronze, to thermoplastics, crystals, fiberoptics, and LEDs—as well as his radical reinterpretation of some of the most established archetypes in furniture—from armchairs and rocking chairs to desk lamps and chandeliers—has put him at the forefront of contemporary design.


Above: Oh-Void 2, 2006. Photograph by Erik and Petra Hesmerg. Courtesy of Private Collection, USA.

The exhibition will feature approximately 140 works, including design objects, architectural models, and videos.


Above: Sketch for Well Tempered Chair, 1986.

Most of the objects featured in the exhibition will be displayed in a monumental structure specially designed by Arad and developed with Michael Castellana from Ron Arad Associates, and loaned to this exhibition.


Above: Well Tempered Chair, Prototype 1986. Photograph courtesy of Vitra Design Museum.

Cage sans Frontières (Cage without Borders) is a Corten steel structure—126.5 feet (38.5 meters) long, spanning the whole length of the Museum’s International Council gallery, and over 16 feet (5 meters) tall—in the shape of a figure eight. The structure consists of 240 cells that are each lined with stainless steel.


Above: Lolita, 2004.

The dramatic installation will rely on its scale and on the reflectivity of the inner walls of the cells to create a ricocheting effect that will be tamed and contained by the regular rhythm of the structure’s geometry.


Above: Chalk Farm Road Studio, Ron Arad Associates, London. Video, 1989–91.

The exhibition celebrates Arad’s spirit by combining industrial design, one-off pieces, architecture, and architectural installation.


Above: MT Rocker Chair, 2005. Photograph by Eric and Petra Hesmerg. Courtesy of Private Collection, Maastricht.

Objects are grouped in families whose common thread is the exploration, sometimes over years, of a form, a material, a technique, or a structural idea, such as the exploration of elasticity and surprise that began with the Well Tempered Chair (1986) — a chair made of 4 sprung sheets of steel held together by wing-nuts that come together to suggest the archetypical shape of an armchair.


Above: New Orleans, 1999. Photograph by Eric and Petra Hesmerg. Courtesy of Private Collection, Maastricht.

Another example is the Volumes series (1988), which comprises, among others, his renowned Big Easy (1988) and its various iterations, among them the Soft Big Easy (1990) and the painted fiberglass New Orleans (1999), or the more recent Bodyguards series (2008), in which the same initial shape in blown aluminum is differently intersected by imaginary planes and cut to reveal ever-changing personalities, from a rocking chair to a stern bodyguard-like sculpture.


Above: Concrete Stereo, 1983. Photograph by Erik and Petra Hesmerg. Courtesy of The Gallery Mourmans, Maastricht.

The exhibition will feature Arad’s most celebrated historical pieces, including the Rover Chair (1981), the Concrete Stereo (1983), and the Bookworm bookshelves (1993), along with more recent experiments such as the lamp PizzaKobra (2008) and the latest reincarnation of the Volumes series, the armchair duo Even the Odd Balls? (2009).


Above: Southern Hemisphere, 2007. Photograph by Eric and Petra Hesmerg. Courtesy of Private Collection, Maastricht.

Over the past 25 years, ever since he founded his studio together with long-time professional partner Caroline Thorman, Arad has produced an outstanding array of innovative objects, spanning from limited editions to almost unlimited series, from carbon fiber armchairs to polyurethane bottle racks.


Above: Sketch for Southern Hemisphere, 2007.

A designer and an architect, trained at the Bezalel Academy of Art in Jerusalem and at London’s Architectural Association, he has also designed memorable spaces, some plastic and tactile, others digital and ethereal.


Above: Looming Lloyd, 1989. Photograph courtesy of Vitra Design Museum.

A few notable examples are the lobby of the Tel Aviv Opera House (1994-98), Yohji Yamamoto’s showroom in Tokyo (2003), and the Holon Design Museum, currently under construction, which will be represented in the exhibition with models and videos.


Above: Sketch for FPE (Fantastic, Plastic, Elastic), 1997.

To give life to his ideas, Arad relies on the computer’s computational latitude as much as on his own exquisite drafting skills, and on the most advanced automated manufacturing techniques as well as on the soldering apparatus in his collaborators’ metal workshops.


Above: FPE (Fantastic, Plastic, Elastic), 1997.

Often, his works are combinations of high and low technologies, such as his Lolita chandelier for Swarovski, a lovingly crafted crystal chandelier that can receive and display text messages.


Above: Ripple Chair, 2006.

Idiosyncratic and surprising, and also very beautiful, Arad’s designs communicate the joy of invention, pleasure and humor, and pride in the display of their technical and constructive skills.


Above: Ron Arad with Issey Miyake and Dai Fujiwara of Miyake Design Studio. Ripple Chair Dressed with A-POC (A Piece of Cloth), 2006.

Ron Arad: No Discipline is organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou, Paris, Musée national d'art moderne/Centre de création industrielle, and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.


Above: PizzaKobra, 2007.

The exhibition catalogue showcases Arad’s work with full-color illustrations and brief descriptions of over 150 works.


Above: Large Bookworm, 1993.

Essays include one by Paola Antonelli about Arad’s role as an educator, placing him in the world of design; an essay by Ingeborg de Roode that details Arad’s use of innovative materials and technology; an interview with the designer by Marie-Laure Jousset; and a whimsical reflection on Arad and the idea of definitions by Jonathan Safran Foer.


Above: Narrow Pappardelle, 1992. Photograph by Bruno Scott. Courtesy of Fonds national d'art contemporain, ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Paris.

Ron Arad: No Discipline is published by The Museum of Modern Art and will be available at MoMA Stores and online at in August.


Above: Blown Out Of Proportion (B.O.O.P.) Vase, 1998. Photograph by Thibault Jeanson.

EXHIBITION:  Ron Arad: No Discipline
DATES:  August 2—October 19, 2009
LOCATION:  The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art Gallery, sixth floor
ORGANIZATION: Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, and Patricia Juncosa Vecchierini, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.


Above: Big Easy Volume 2, 198,


Above: Bookworm 8008, 1993.

Posted on Sunday July 12th 2009 at 1:07 am by Brad Turner. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Prof Z, genius D

    some others photos from Pompidou Center Paris “No discipline”

  • tanya telford – T

    for me, its seems every piece speaks for its self but im already a fan of his work, looks like a good exhibition.

  • I thought he was from Israel…

  • Neo

    Nothing new since 15 years ago.

    “At a time when design is increasingly preoccupied with social and environmental problems, Ron Arad comes across as dated and a tad egocentric as these pieces are little else than pure self-expression.”

    Review from the exhibition when it was in Paris.

  • tanya telford – T

    Neo – ive just read the review you suggested &:

    I think the judgement of his work being “pure self expression” is not exactly true and I do feel that the “dated” judgement is slightly short sighted.

    Its true, from the pictures of the exhibition and write up, that maybe not much was revealed about the inner workings of this guys work & process.

    But is it really necessary to offer up 100% disclosesuer on demand, every time? Does that actually support the growth of individuality, imagination etc?

    “A Tad Egocentric”? Maybe that to be a strong contender within the Creative Industry’s and to continue & survive a designer needs a strong personal vision & this could easily come across as ego centric?

    If im honest, what worries me most at the moment is the possibility of peoples willingness to completely trash or dismiss any (was/is important) body of work which has built up over time purely because: a – all information is not fully released as desired and on demand.


    b – the judgement – “social and environmental problems are not being tackled”. Maybe social and environmental problems are not being tackled in an obvious way? May be there are many/more than a few possibilities?

  • W

    Hope he gives a credit for the chandelier

  • d

    really intriguing, i must go see this.

    It is not necessary for every designer to wear environmentalism on their sleeve as some sort of ideological litmus test. i am concerned about the groupthink/fad-ism in environmentalism and there is a lot of ethical confusion within that tendency that does not really contribute to serious efforts to engage those issues. this work seems to demonstrate a strong personal ethical stand-and i am curious as to what exactly, or approximately, that is.

    I’m only vaguely acquainted w ron arad, and i had never realized there was this arte povera connection going on. some of these pieces are highly successful, others not as much, but the aggressiveness is kinda hot

    clearly egocentric or something- but does anyone really care? its furniture, not social housing

  • Robt. H.

    Yes, “d”. Someone cares. A chair, because of it’s potential intimacy, can in fact be more “important” than the structure containing it. And if done well, it can also be much more challenging to design.