Contemporary Music in Historic Tel Aviv
by Lili Eylon
The first thing that strikes you when you enter the Felicja Blumental Music Center and Library is its transparency. A holistic approach to the building's design has resulted in successful visual connections between the rooms and an extraordinary attention to detail.
A muted golden hue pervading the open, spacious foyer originates from the intense Mediterranean light blended into the white walls with their discreet gold design and the plain pink carpeted floors.
Architect Nili Portugali designed every detail of the interior, down to the color of the carpet, the desks in the offices, and the shape of the chairs in the intimate 130-person concert hall, which boasts exceptionally good acoustics.
The foyer and the other front rooms of the four-story structure for the Tel Aviv Foundation, all face peaceful Bialik Square. This is an integral part of Little Tel Aviv, the historic heart of the city currently undergoing reconstruction and revitalization.
In effect, the Bialik district — named for Haim Nachman Bialik, Israel's national poet — is a microcosm of Tel Aviv's 20th century architectural history. Here stood the city's first municipality building constructed in the eclectic period of the 1920s and edifices from the 1930s when the international style was in fashion.
The new music center, completed in 1998, is the largest classical music library in Israel. It merges smoothly into this old neighborhood on the site of a 1930s art deco library.