Dari Shechter by Chen Mizrachi
Dari Shechter by Chen Mizrachi

(Women We Admire)

Meet Israeli design expert Dari Shechter

by Joy Bernard | 09/03/21

Handle with Care chatted with Israeli design specialist Dari Shechter, VP of Creative and Design at the coworking real estate company Mindspace. The 34-year-old Shechter, who grew up in Tel Aviv, oversees the meticulous design and styling of Mindspace’s gorgeous offices in her hometown as well as in other locations throughout the world. We asked Shechter to spill insider’s secrets on how to make a space pop with color and share with us some of her inspiring personal anecdotes. 

Joy Bernard (JB): So Dari, what’s your background? How did you find yourself working in design?

Dari Shechter (DS): I didn’t get into the world of design through the conventional path. I got my B.A. in Entrepreneurship and Business Administration at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC), where I participated in the Zell Entrepreneurship Program. When we finished the program, all the students took a trip to the United States, where we met with Adam Neumann, the founder of WeWork. That’s when I first encountered the concept of co-working, and when I returned to Israel I started researching and thinking how to bring this idea over here. I met with the amazing entrepreneur Dan Zakai, who is the founder of Mindspace. He recruited me to be the company’s very first employee. When we started developing the product Mindspace offers, we realized that the design aspect was an integral part of it. I was working as community manager and the head of sales and marketing, but I helped a lot with the design and slowly I became in charge of the design side of things. We have architects with whom we work to plan out the spaces, and I do the curating and decide what would be the visual and aesthetic language of each place. Eventually I established the art and creative department at Mindspace, and have designed about 40 Mindspace branches in Israel and abroad.

JB: Has your work changed since the coronavirus came into our lives? Have you encountered some challenges?

DS: Oh, for sure! We recently had to design a new Mindspace branch that was set to open in London. The coworker with whom I was going to collaborate on this project was sent on unpaid leave, and I had to do it alone and remotely, because there were no outbound flights from Israel so I couldn’t travel. For the first time in my life, I designed a space via Zoom! It was the most challenging experience I could think of, but we did it.

JB: Speaking of designing on Zoom, what tips can you share with our readers who want to use this time indoors to decorate their homes?

DS: First of all, I recommend that people treat their homes as clean slates or white canvases. To do that, they have to clean their homes and let go of all the objects they don’t need. You have to make your space as minimalistic as possible, so you can let in new inspirations and influences that are more suitable to who you are today. I know it’s really hard for people to do, but that’s the first step and it’s a must. Then, you need to consider what color palette you connect with and work accordingly, selecting items that go well together and perhaps repainting the walls to correspond with the new shades and tones you’ve picked. Another really important element is the lighting. Sometimes changing the lighting in our homes makes all the difference, and helps us feel much more cozy and at ease. It could be a very simple step, such as using different light bulbs, and already you’ll feel so much better. One last tip is to focus on adding art to your house. Try to pick one artwork that will set the tone in your home. It doesn’t have to be an original painting, there are so many affordable places where you can purchase prints. Keep your walls as clean as possible, don’t clutter them with a lot of photographs and let the art do all the talking.

JB: Which Israeli designers and artists would you name as worth following?

DS: Five names off the top of my head are Natalie Feldesman, Liora Kaplan, Omer Polak, Lahav Halevy and Yaniv Amar.

JB: And who do you turn to for inspiration abroad?

DS: I like Korean artist and designer Kwangho Lee, the Iranian-French architect and designer India Mahdavi and Cophenagen-based, architect-designer duo Anny Wang and Tim Söderström.

JB: Lastly, as a woman in a senior position in the startup world, who is working in a field that she didn’t necessarily study, what advice would you give to people who want to influence but don’t believe they can take that leap?

DS: People are often afraid to start anew, and I understand that reservation. I just leapt right into and learned from the process along the way, so I believe that it’s definitely possible to succeed if you put in the hard work. I know so many people who are experts in their fields and didn’t necessarily get their education in those specific subjects. There is beauty and merit to learning on the go.

  • Placeholder A Mindspace branch Dari Shechter designed in Bucharest.
  • Placeholder A Mindspace branch Dari Shechter designed in Berlin.
  • Placeholder A Mindspace branch Dari Shechter designed in Bucharest.
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