A Duo Of Doersby Anna Kopito | 06.12.15
Johanna Asseraf and Assaf Cohen are multi-taskers. They are not only the founders of a graphic design studio and a non-profit independent publisher – but also have a passion for education. And it all goes under the epithet Public School, a general name for all their activities.
It is easy to get the impression that Asseraf and Cohen have a strong intuition, making sure they are always working on something that they feel passionate about. Self-initiated projects are an important part of their work, giving them the freedom to follow their own instinct and taste. This way, they have been able to establish a very specific aesthetic, something very Public School-ish, easily recognizable in their work of books, posters – and even in a mug!
Through teaching, and constant contact with design students, they have found a tool to solidify their ideas about design, and to question and define it for themselves. Asseraf and Cohen are also involved in research as part of their publishing, giving them constant exposure to more influences.
One of Public School’s impressive projects is the book Pax Israeliana, a tome of research that Asseraf and Cohen created about Israeli modernism during the earliest years of the State, 1948-1977. Pax Israeliana is a collection of works and terms from the golden age of Israel, according to the publishers, and aims to define a period where the young state of Israel was shaping its identity. During the creation process of Pax Israeliana, the duo collected images of architecture, art, and design created in Israel, which was influenced by the movement in Europe. Again, they didn’t need to heed to any restrictions, but could instead choose the direction the project would take, and curate it the way they wanted to – towards minimalism, and geometric shapes. Additionally, this book had an educational value – one of the main characteristics of Public School’s work.
Photos by Jenny Schweber