|Aharon and Reut Sharar|
|Moshav Tzafririm, Elah Valley|
|International company of handmade and hand-painted wooden designs and Judaica for the home.|
Kakadu Design is an international Israeli design company based on Moshav Tzafririm. It produces a variety of practical hand painted wooden designs for the home, everything from decorated furniture and wooden carpets to vases and placemats. It also focuses on creating Judaica products.
 The Company
Kakadu, Hebrew for cockatoo, was started in 1990 by Aharon and Reut Shahar with unique designs featuring pictures of birds and other images from nature. These designs proved popular and by 1994, from small beginnings, the Shahar’s had opened their first store in Jerusalem, followed later by a second one in Tel Aviv. Aharon and Reut have a commitment to a ‘green’ approach to life and only use wood from sustainable sources. The Shahar’s believe in a society based on a coexistence that respects everyone, just like they respect the environment. Accordingly, Kakadu workers cover the whole spectrum of Israeli society. During the second intifada some of the Palestinian workers were unable to travel to the workshop, so the Shahar’s set up mini-workshops in their villages. Now Kakadu is an international company, based adjacent to a nature reserve on Moshav Tzafririm, midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in the historic and beautiful Elah Valley.
 The Artists
 Aharon Shahar
Aharon Shahar is a master carpenter and designer who started his career by making furniture. He developed the various processes used to make Kakadu products durable, creates new designs and now runs the management side of the business. In keeping with his integrated approach to life, Aharon Shahar also teaches Alexander Technique.
 Reut Shahar
Reut Shahar studied art and jewelry design at Bezalel Academy and was the first woman to study carpentry in Israel. Apart from being the main creative force behind the company she is also an artist, musician and sculptor in her own right. She exhibits her work in Israel and abroad.
 The Process
Handcrafted, and hand-painted, Kakadu’s products go through a 12-step process of manufacture. Once an item has been designed it is created in an on site workshop. Material used are a combination of solid wood and plywood which is cut using methods that insure there is little waste as possible. After the product has been made, it is hand-painted and then lacquered several times to ensure that it is both water-resistant and durable. After this, the Kakadu product is ready for display and distribution.
 ‘Art for the Heart’ Workshops
The Shahar’s run workshops at the Kakadu Gallery, and elsewhere in Israel and the world, so that people can participate in the creative process. Reut Shahar believes that everyone can be creative and she runs workshops to help people bring out their creativity. Some of the workshops at Kakadu are short, aimed at tour groups, while others are long-term regular classes that enable people to eventually open up their own studios and businesses. Other classes and workshops offered at Kakadu include Jewish heritage, nature and music.
 ‘Picabu' at Disney World
Recently Reut Shahar was commissioned by the Swan & Dolphin Resort at Disney World in Florida, to redesign one of their restaurants. This required a lot of coordination, as all the work was carried out in the Israeli Kakadu workshop. The restaurant features the ‘Picabu’ motif, which appears peering around corners, guiding customers around the space. Picabu is full of light and fun, and appeals to both children and to the ‘child within’ adults alike. Apart from the wooden ‘Picabu’ motifs all around the restaurant , there are three display ‘worlds’ with wooden fish, birds and bugs in typical Kakadu style - just to amuse.
Aharon and Reut Sharar’s environmentally friendly furniture and household products are available from their Kakadu gallery, stores in Israel, various stores worldwide, and online.