Ori Orisun Merhav

  • Ori Orisun Merhav graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2022. Whilst there, her BA research explored material cultures as a reflective tool of human-nature coalescence, focusing on the insect polymer ‘Kerria Lacca’. Her ongoing research project using the polymer, entitled ‘Insects Matter’, is registered as a pending patent with support of a five year research grant in collaboration with the Technical University Eindhoven, NL. Ori has been shortlisted for multiple awards, including the Kazerne Design Award, 2023; and the Isola Design Award in 2022. Her research has been featured in Elle Decoration and the Financial Times.



    In search of revival, Ori’s practice employs a connectivity to forgotten or under-used materialities. Her crafted designs orientate around a natural polymer made by female Lac Beetles, indige- nous to Southeast Asia - a material traditionally used as a lacquer coating akin to a shellac. With the rise of chemical coatings, de- mands for the natural material rapidly decreased. It was during a research trip to Thailand that Ori first engaged with the natural polymer, named ‘Kerria Lacca’, studying the Lac Beetles and their use of the material when constructing nests on tree branches.



    Enlivened not only in admiration of the mottled, golden surface qualities of the material, it is Ori’s aim to persistently question the ethical harvesting techniques used to access and process the material, moreover imagine the sculptural possibilities in her playful and curious approach to what can be made of it. 

    Ori brings us closer to what she refers to as a ‘bio-inclusive’ future. Her practice re-frames our fraught relationship to polymers, as to intervene within a material culture characterised by single-use and disposal. Merhav’s objects and lighting installations emulate the molecular structure of polymers themselves, comprised of a multi- tude of precisely hand-blown elements, her works themselves are gatherings of many. Each rounded and bulbous form spilling over one another, as if in a state of continual imperceptible growth, they share surface, akin to the interactions to be held around such works. 

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