As a child growing up on a kibbutz in Israel, Nitzan Cohen said his favorite birthday gift was a LEGO set—not just the regular, but the technical set. "It's how I spent all my time in the winter," he remembers.
That was his first clue that design might be a good career choice for him. After graduating from the design academy in Eindhoven, Holland, he spent many years as a designer and project leader at Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design in Munich. In 2007, he established his own multi-disciplinary studio, where he and his team work on a variety of projects, ranging from household items to exhibit spaces, for clients including BMW-Group, Diesel, Mattiazzi, and Bree.
Cohen says he loves working on furniture, especially chairs, because "they relate most to the body; there is a constant relationship to people, and there really are no boundaries when designing it: you can do things with a chair that you could never do with any other object. In terms of scale, character, and features, a chair is often the most 'outspoken' piece in the room."
When Mattiazzi first approached him about designing a new café chair, he began the same way he does anything he's working on: with lots of questions. "You have to ask yourself, what will the character of this chair be, will it be 'loud' or more timid? You have to find its DNA. And, of course, one must always consider technology: What can we do with the technology we have available to us?"
The result perhaps surprised even him: two versions of the same chair: He Said/She Said. "I thought about the classic café scenario: girl meets boy, boy meets girl, sitting on two chairs at a small round table; he says something, she says something . . . and I named it with that in mind."
Cohen clearly enjoys his work and feels that no matter what the question, he and his studio will find the answer. "I would never say it is the best or only answer, but it is our answer, and that makes me really proud."
Studio Nitzan Cohen