With Forbidden Lakes, designers travel to far off places

Parts Unknown

By Anna Carnick

Israeli designers Michal Sara Cederbaum and Noam Dover have a rather unique—and quite charming—habit. The pair often goes exploring in places they can’t otherwise travel to—for various geopolitical reasons—using Google Earth. As Cederbaum tells us, “It might sound funny, but for us, this is a way of practicing ‘freedom.’ It is a form of traveling made possible by digital technology, enabling us to see the realities we are forbidden to witness.”

Placement preparation in the studio Placement preparation in the studio
This week, the duo released Forbidden Lakes, a collection of twelve unique plates depicting silhouettes of lakes in locations they found via Google Earth, including Lake Surobi, Afghanistan; Lake Habbaniyah, Iraq; Lake Namal, Pakistan; and Lake Heaven, North Korea, among others.

As Cederbaum says: “With this collection, we are performing a small, unpretentious act that subverts strong geopolitical structures and seeks freedom through design. We hope that this notion, or energy, will echo from the objects themselves. More generally, we think that design has an important role in these conflicted times, and that it must retain relevance by engaging the here and now issues—be they social, political, environmental, or other.”

Cederbaum and Dover originally sourced their white-and-gold plates from various flea markets and eBay. They then created images of the lakes based on their Google Earth findings, and turned those images into vinyl stickers. The stickers were placed on the original plates, and then the plates were partially sandblasted in order to remove pre-existing designs in the surrounding areas. Later, the designers applied new, dark blue glaze onto the spot where the vinyl once rested, and then finished the plates in the kiln. Everything is done in-studio, and the name of each lake is noted on the flipside of the plate.  

The resulting Forbidden Lakes plates! The resulting Forbidden Lakes plates!

Cederbaum and Dover—who recently relocated to Stockholm—plan to produce more Forbidden Lakes plates moving forward, as well as additional designs based on other Google “travels.”

Forbidden Lakes are also on view at 19 Greek Street during this year’s London Design Festival. 


*All images courtesy of Noam Dover and Michal Sara Cederbaum

  • Text by

    • Anna Carnick

      Anna Carnick

      Anna is Pamono’s Managing Editor. Her writing has appeared in several arts and culture publications, and she's edited over 20 books. Anna loves celebrating great artists, and seriously enjoys a good picnic.

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