Handcrafted objects that are both functional and beautiful, NU is built on the spirit of true collaboration.
Words by Carli Philips
Photos by Dan Perez
Styling by Nurit Kariv
(Mud by Yifat Verchick Perez)
After three decades as an interiors and food stylist with a roster of international clients under her belt, Nurit Kariv has taken the leap and launched NU, an independent design platform where she partners with established and emerging Israeli artisans. “After 30 years working with a brief, I can finally express my true design voice,” she says. “There’s something very liberating in that.”
Kariv’s industry experience combined with her natural capacity for spotting talent has so far resulted in 13 capsule collections, each one born from a long-term collaboration. Working side-by-side with makers, it’s an intimate partnership based both on aesthetic vision and personal connection. “The dialogue is half them, half me,” she says. “It’s what makes the brand what it is.” Her approach starts with conceiving a new product, followed by research, and then delving down into the practicalities of prototyping and manufacturing. There is no formula or criteria other than a shared vision to produce something that is both useful and beautiful. Released in limited quantities, each object is bound by the spirit of timelessness.
Kariv says she is particularly inspired by the emerging creatives she partners with and their “curiosity, hunger, adventure and new way of looking at the world.” While she assumes somewhat of an unofficial mentorship role, it’s a reciprocal and limitless learning process. “I’m exposed to the knowledge and insights of some amazing and innovative people, so I am growing as a designer, too. I have immense respect for them.”
Viewing ancient Judaica through a contemporary lens was the concept for the thought-provoking black clay menorah by multidisciplinary artist Tamara Efrat, a piece that now sits in New York’s Jewish Museum. Other NU collections have included botanical textiles by illustrator Michal Dubois, a series of porcelain pitchers and ice-cream bowls in minimalist shapes and contemporary colors by Tel Aviv-based ceramicist Gur Inbar, cheeky lobster-print tablecloths made alongside textile designer Eran Zoar, gradient-striped clay tableware by industrial designer and ceramicist Dorit Provizor, woven works by Shelly Freiman, clay painted bowls by Lior Shahar, and glossy cake stands by glassblower Adam Salvi.
Central to the NU philosophy is a celebration of the handmade and the importance of nurturing true craftsmanship. It’s this inimitable quality that Kariv hopes will reach an audience who appreciates the inherent beauty of the imperfect.