Photographs by Sivan Askayo.
A local shows us the street life, the breakfast culture, and yes, the famously whitewashed architecture of the White City.
The White City, or “the heart of Tel Aviv,” as we locals call it, is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its Bauhaus architecture. But the whitewashed buildings, famous for their clean lines and open terraces, are not what drew me and Alon, my partner in life and work, to the neighborhood. We came for the artists, intellectuals, and other creative types who live here.
Our architecture studio, Baranowitz Kronenberg, is a 10-minute walk from our Bauhaus-style apartment. We truly live our work. If we go to an exhibition, it’s on architecture, and even when we are in a park, we’re always looking for design details.
Many of our projects are hotels and restaurants, such as the W Amsterdam or Tel Aviv’s popular Tapas 1 Ha’am restaurant. We view our work as lifestyle projects—places for people to gather. So it’s important for us to understand the ways people like to visit and interact with each other.
In Tel Aviv, and particularly in this neighborhood, a lot of socializing takes place on the street. Rothschild Boulevard, a beautiful leafy street lined with great examples of Bauhaus architecture, is absolutely full of people from morning till midnight.
In the morning, I walk down the boulevard from my apartment to the studio. On the way, I usually stop at a coffee kiosk for my second double espresso, a sandwich, and a chat with friends. I feel I live with a lot of love around me. In this neighborhood, people say hello every day and comment on each other’s outfits or ask about their kids or their weekend plans. Some days, when I need a break from the office and a new creative environment, I go next door to Café Nachmani, which has a European feel, with leather benches and piles of magazines. I sometimes have meetings here or flip through magazines for ideas.
In Tel Aviv, breakfast is something of a sport—it’s kind of like weekend brunch in Manhattan. Many restaurants serve breakfast all day every day, but Fridays are the big day to go to breakfast. Alon and I reserve a table at Delicatessen a week in advance and go for a glass of arak, an anise-flavored spirit, and an egg dish called shakshuka.
Going to the beach for drinks and sunset is another big social event. The beach is only a short walk from our neighborhood, and locals go year-round. You always find people you know at the beach, and the ones you don’t know already, you will soon.
See Irene Kronenberg’s favorite places in Tel Aviv, here.
This appeared in the March/April 2015 issue.