Must Have: Vases from Vazu

The Vazu vases from Israeli design group TH+E are unlike any you have ever seen before. Although they appear to be made of glass or crystal, the vases are actually made from a unique form of plastic and be folded … Read More

By / July 3, 2008

The Vazu vases from Israeli design group TH+E are unlike any you have ever seen before. Although they appear to be made of glass or crystal, the vases are actually made from a unique form of plastic and be folded completely flat! Sold both individually and in multi-packs, the Vazu vases make the perfect housewarming gift for a neighbor or a friend: Just add flowers and water and you've got yourself a beautiful display and an instant conversation piece. The vases are strong, durable, washable, and reusable—they're even environmentally friendly! No wonder Vazu vases are becoming a hot commodity here in the US.

We asked Tzvika of the TH+E Design Group to tell us how Vazu vases came about.

Jewcy: Tell us a little bit about TH+E Design Group.

Tzvika: TH+E stands for Tzvika, Hagai and Eitan, three childhood friends with no previous experience with designing vases. I was a law graduate managing products and projects in the Israeli hi-tech industry. Eitan was a cognitive psychologist specializing in human interfaces, and Hagai was a landscape architect renovating houses in the city of Tel-Aviv. Typical 'mid-life crises' found the three of us wanting to do something different.

TH+E had many ideas for products, but when the Vazu vase found such a great market niche, the vase business became so large that we found ourselves only designing vases for the last couple of years. Now, as the vases become more established in the marketplace, we are starting to design new products like lamps, pet accessories, and kitchenware.

We've partnered in the United States with Michael Epstein (a Jewcer) to create Vazu USA. Vazu USA markets and distributes the Vazu product line in the USA and carries a full inventory in their Cleveland, Ohio warehouse.

Jewcy: Where did the idea for Vazu vases come from?

Tzvika: During a search for ready-made materials that we could use to create a lampshade, we were looking at different types of food packaging and discovered an interesting format that was no good for lighting but happened to work perfectly as a vase.

Jewcy: What materials are the vases made out of? How does it work?

Tzvika: The main material is a special kind of polyethylene which is highly transparent, flexible, and very strong.

Jewcy: What kinds of patterns are printed on the vases? Who designs this aspect of the product?

Tzvika: The three of us together with graphic artist Hagit Zimbrovich all draw, paint, and play with hundreds of patterns until we find a print that merges with the vase's shape and also compliments flowers. Our first line of vases was 70ish retro but, as we now appeal to a wider audience, we try to design for a variety of tastes with many different styles. Our bestselling pattern, the “TranSisto,” is designed to look like a classic Bohemia-glass vase. Our gold and silver “LaceTica” vases are an ethnic design with an oriental touch. The “Blumina” line, with its strong summer colors, remind us of our last trip to Brazil. We work very closely with the creative staff at VazuUSA to incorporate the latest trends from the US into our designs.

Jewcy: What kind of buzz has the product been getting?

Tzvika: Like the “Jerusalem Syndrome,” we call it the “Vazu Syndrome.” We have people from all over the world contacting us every day, asking to sell our vases in their homeland, because they're convinced that their lives will change if they just start to work with our vases. We've heard from everyone from a retired teacher in New Zealand, a young mechanic from Peru, a real-estate broker from Germany. We've been featured on many Israeli magazine covers, our vases were picked as last year's giveaway at the Israeli Export Institute, and several Israeli embassies have included our vases in the gift baskets that they give to other diplomats. The most recent: We were a finalist in the “Best New Product Award” at the Super Floral Show in Orlando, Florida, which is the floral retail industry's annual trade event.

We always say that if you have new guests coming to your home, just place one Vazu on the table and wait until your guests realize it is not a glass vase; you will then have something to talk about for the next couple of minutes! The Vazu has become very popular in the US as a hostess gift, especially as a gift with or without flowers for Shabbat dinner.

Want to know where you can pick up your own Vazu products? Michael Epstein, long-time Jewcer and distributor for VazuUSA, tells us: "Our Gift Sleeve version is currently available at many museum shops, botanical gardens, hospital gift shops, JCCs and gift stores in the USA. Our Tear-Off-Top version is available at select supermarket floral departments and other floral retailers. By this time next year, we expect to have the ToT version available in the majority of US supermarkets and mass merchants. If you don't see a Vazu at your favorite local retailer, you can also buy them online from Vazu USA. Shipping is free!"

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