Turkish Design District. Manufactures & Designers

turks vs turkish  city making  marketing territoriale  design district

In the past fifteen years, Turkey has been the center of an economic and creative renaissance where design has played a key role: a true opportunity to re-launch the territory, as well as an identity boost through the interpretation of the national archetypal heritage. The connection between design and territory is very strong and has also been highlighted by Istanbul Design Week: since 2005, the old Galata Bridge – an architectural ready-made – has been identified as the symbolic location of this annual event. Creating a creative district represents an example of territorial marketing with glocal traits: the connection between the local and the international also turns out to be a geographical place for cultural exchange – thanks to exhibitions and events – and for a diversified network of design communities.

The ‘Design Territory’ in Turkey has two “souls”: on one side, established interiors and product-oriented studios like Autoban, and on the other side small realities with young designers who have studied at local universities and have started working for local brands. Another duality marks the content of design made by the so-called Turkish or made by Turks. The first ones are “locals”, who live and work mainly in Istanbul. The second ones are “global”, who have studied and worked outside Turkey – in Milan, London, Paris and New York. From a stylistic point of view, such duality is also translated into the attention for the heritage, its archetypes and objects from the popular custom, as well as into a wider opening to the contamination of language, technology and hybrid materials – the result of designers meeting new foreign cultures.

Therefore, design becomes the opportunity and the representation of the cultural heritage through the reinterpretation of archetypes in the work of Turkish designer, who have been inspired by the Ottoman tradition. Design as practice also showcases a blend of different cultures. While building new urban landscapes, Turkish manufactures attract well known designers and invest in local projects. This way, Turkish design takes part in Charles Landry “city making”, redefining the national shape and balance.

BIO | Rosa Chiesa is an architect who graduated from the Politecnico di Milano Faculty of Architecture. She has been working, for a number of years, with design, interior design and fashion magazines, as well as drafts for publishing houses such as Mondadori, Rcs, Hachette and Condé Nast. Free lance journalist for web portals such as design-italia and style.it. Since 2005 she has been the editor of architectural, design and graphic iconographic research for Electa Mondadori. In 2008 she started the Design Science PhD at IUAV Venice in the Design Museology Research Unity. Together with her professional activities, she is also carrying out and has completed various collaborations with universities such as: University of the Republic of San Marino Design course, Politecnico of Milan Design Faculty and, since 2009, IULM Univeristy of Milan.

BIO | Ali Filippini Is a designer who graduated at Politecnico of Milan, and a PhD Candidate at IUAV Venice Faculty of Design and Arts. Since 2001, he has been working with area magazines both on paper and on the web, particularly concerned with contemporary design and also taking care of exposition projects. He is a university professor at Scuola Politecnica of Milan teaching Design History and Contemporary Design, and from 2007 until 2010 worked with the Permanent Design Observatory for design ADI (Design for people). He has been involved with different educational activities in different schools and Universities participating in research and publications.


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