Pivko’s palace of creative space

Times of India
6 October

HERE is more to one of the world’s most creative forces, than charismatic aura and eloquence, we discovered.
Master architect Ilan Pivko was in Pune recently, visiting the Osho commune with his wife and friends. Pivko is a high-flier and his friendcircle includes couturier Isse Miyaki and French movie star Michelle Picoli. Pivko is also referred to as the ‘Father of Israeli Architecture’ and has created stylistic distinctions that have won him accolades and have caused people to refer to him as one of the most influential architects of our time.
But the man, in person, is a lesson in honesty and modesty. Despite his international stature, Pivko is remarkably candid. “I truly believe that only if you love yourself enough, can you create pleasant things for others to enjoy. That’s what my designs are all about – exciting and vibrant spaces that celebrate life,” he smiles.
Born in Paris, an only child, this self-made creative genius says success never came on a platter. Neither did obstacles deter him from letting his creative juices flow – from architecture to furniture, city plans to door knobs, chinaware to clothes, as he reinforces the notion of creativity being limitless.
“I passed my architectural school and got deeply involved in the local wicker weaving technique. I worked with local craftsmen and soon, created furniture that was being retailed in every store worth its tag in London, Miami, Paris, Toronto and New York,” he tells us.
Combining basic local materials in its raw form, with a sophisticated international flavour, is what Pivko’s signature designs are all about.
His creative pursuits took a fresh turn towards research, as he moved into Jaffa. With a penchant to create things beyond the already prevalent spartan styles, Pivko’s work now had an idiosyncratic mélange of basic socialistic roots, sprinkled with an informal Israeli approach – a dash of multi-cultural influences, with a new-age western lavishness.
“I definitely insist that every design should bear a touch of the local element,” says Pivko, as he displays the drawings of one of Tel Aviv’s tallest building the Residential Towers, that he designed. The Towers have a contemporary flair of steel and glass, and yet, boast a traditional intersecting Gothic arch, circumscribing the pinnacle of the tower.
Pivko’s creative favourites are architect Eric Mendelson, art furniture designer Rhuman and British architect Sir Norman Foster.
Pivko remains introspective about his work. “I think that buildings are like people, with emotions, expressions and, trust me, they even have wrinkles. That’s why I like to involve time as an element of design in my work,” he says.
Sensitive and esoteric, Pivko is fascinated by the 18th century romanticism of ruins; in fact, his own house is inspired by the era. “I like working with black, white and earth colours”, he tells us, while explaining his taste for achromatic tones and simple geometric forms.
The avant-garde French Channel Art’e has honoured Pivko with a prestigious documentary on his creative contributions and Israel’s national museum has asked him to exhibit his work there.
Currently, it’s a commercial complex in Madrid, an exotic villa complex in Morocco and a residential project in Cannes that are keeping Pivko occupied.
As for Pune, Pivko is besotted with the variety of architectural designs. “Some parts of this city have that mid-forties touch, while the wadas are still in the last century. Then there are parts that are charged with contemporary ideas. Very rarely does one get to see such a harmony of ideas. That’s what I really like, besides the people of course,” he says.

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