I’m investigating unusual and fun gadgets for the home this week with my guest Antonina Glezer of Glezant, an analytical chemist turned designer. Antonina has always had a passion for interior design and her products are fun yet practical. I caught up with Antonina recently to find out more..Hi Antonina!
Hello, I’m Antonina. I was born and educated in Moscow. I studied at Moscow Institute of Fine Chemical Technology and later I worked at various Moscow research institutes. I changed my professional activity from lip-gloss development to chromatography at the Institute of Organic Chemistry. Then I flew on an airplane – lab over different regions researching air pollution.
Since 1991 I`ve lived in Israel. For over 25 years I worked as an analytical chemist for a university and for a pharmaceutical company. When my children have grown older and I got tired of chemistry I have decided to go ahead and start studying something which was a passion of mine all along. First I have completed courses of interior design, then project management and, finally, I have graduated from the Holon Institute of Technology majoring in design of industrial products. Now I can afford myself to work at what always has been a hobby of mine – design.
I specialize in the creation of products from industrial leftovers. I use natural materials and also recycle them.
I could not calmly watch how the veneer of valuable wood species was thrown away. Using my knowledge of chemistry, I created a new veneer-based material. Later I used it to create fun wall stickers for my design items. I create unusual and fun gadgets for home decor and storage. In my work, I use a combination of handicraft and high-tech technologies such as laser cutting.
I have been selling since 2012. During this time I’ve made over 2,500 sales across stores like Dawanda, A Little Market, GLEZANTdesign on Etsy and AntGl on Etsy.
What inspired you to launch Glezant?
My disappointment with the new policy on the Etsy marketplace and a heightened sense of justice, desire for even greater freedom and independence.
You have designed a range of home items, accessories and utensils – what are your most popular products?
Oddly enough, my very first product that I made as soon as I finished my studies as an industrial product designer. This is Shelf-Sheep for wall decoration and toilet paper storage. My blog has this story and you can take it in whole or in part.
Have you got a favourite product out of everything you have designed?
This is the Sheep and her relatives again. It is also popular among those who use other people’s ideas. Long ago there were Sheep made of metal, standing on the floor and hanging on the wall, as well as all sorts of other animals and birds. I also love my Owl. It appeared much later, but it`s way to the market was more difficult. At some point, I even had to take her off the market until I found a more suitable material for her head. A lot of imitations of it also appeared.
When designing products to add to your collection, do you consider current trends, product usefulness, customer requests, your own ideas or bits of all those?
You know, I tried to ask my acquaintances about their needs for household goods. But nothing interesting came out of this. I am rather inspired by the interesting source of material I find, the desire to give it a new life. After all, if I see in it an opportunity for a new life, then it is very difficult to accept that it will be thrown away. It could even be a new product made by a bad designer out of a good material. So I made a dress and a handbag out of a sweater too overloaded with details. Unfortunately, my sizes quickly went beyond the dress and I did not use it, but I still hope that this set will find it`s mistress among thin girls. Maybe someone will fall in love with it and this kit will start a new life..
Have you any other new products in the pipeline to add to your range for 2021/2022?
Yes of course. But I don’t have enough time to finish it to the final stage. And prematurely showing the model is leading to plagiarism.
Have you always been interested in designing gadgets or did your career aspirations lie elsewhere?
As far as I remember, I always sewed and altered something for myself. In my student years (and I studied to be a synthetic chemist) I made an original hat from my mother’s unnecessary wide woolen scarf with a fashionable at this time round bolster around the face and a “ponytail” with a knot on the crown. Or made fashionable beads from rattles for babies (rattles made of good plastic were already available, and there were no beads made of large bright balls yet). But to create a new veneer-based material, then develop a product, and also figure out how to package it for mailing – this is only after studying at the College of Technology.
As you are based in Israel, are your products available to purchase worldwide?
Thanks to the internet, of course. My customers are mainly from Europe from Poland to Portugal, Scandinavia and English-speaking countries and continents. The Israelis also buy sometimes, even the Russians buy, but less often than the Japanese. And it’s not just the cost of goods, but different ideas about beauty. My products feel like a stranger amid the predominance of Byzantine taste.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I understand that my answer most likely will not find understanding among your readers, but the truth is more important to me. I rarely buy in brand stores. I mainly buy from second hand stores. And, as a rule, I compose something of my own on the basis of these things. Then for a long time I can not part with the item that I fell in love with, I redo, modernize. I reassure myself with lines from Akhmatova: “If only you knew from what rubbish poetry grows without knowing shame.”
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (
I am a bad customer, I do not like to waste time shopping even on the Internet. Except when I am abroad, there is a hope to see something unusual. I love boho clothes, but in the past as a chemist I couldn’t afford to be a black sheep. Now I am a pensioner, but again restrictions – I move around my town on a bicycle, and skirts and dresses are bored in the closet and hope for something else.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
It is not a problem to find clothes. Rather a way of life that makes it possible to wear things which express your nature and embellish you.
Boots or Shoes?
Neither one nor the other, but sandals, we mostly have hot weather.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Glezant
I love your attitude around clothes, Antonina! Thank you so for chatting to me about your fun products, your work history and your motivations!
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Glezant (Antonina Glezer)