Design Biennial puts Turkey on world stage

Design Biennial puts Turkey on world stage

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Design Biennial puts Turkey on world stage Hundreds of designers from Turkey will put Istanbul on the map as an important center for innovative design by showcasing their work at the first ever Istanbul Design Biennial, which kicks off Oct. 12 under the theme of imperfection and also features international designers.

A press conference was held Oct. 10 to discuss what’s in store for the much-anticipated Istanbul Design Biennial, which will take over Galata Greek Primary School and Istanbul Modern as its main venues until Dec. 12. EU Minister Egemen Bağıs and Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay attended the press conference.

“I think this biennial is very important in terms of gathering together the important names of design in Istanbul. Istanbul is an important design memorial in the world,” Bağış said during the conference, according to Anatolia news agency.

Bağış heralded Istanbul’s unique ability to straddle two geographical divides and pointed out that Istanbul is the most western city in the East and the most eastern city in the West. “Istanbul is the Asian city of Europe and the European city of Asia. That’s why it is very important to organize this biennial here,” Bağış said. The EU minister said his only expectation is that IKSV will continue to organize and host this event.


Bülent Eczacıbaşı, Chairman of
the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and
Arts Board of Directors (R) gives a plaque
to the EU Minister Egemen Bağış.
AA photo

During the press conference Bağış referenced remarks made earlier in the month by Bülent Eczacıbaşı, chairman of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts’ (İKSV) Board of Directors, about shifting focus from creating things with a ‘made in Turkey’ label to a ‘designed in Turkey’ label. “We should send a permanent message to the world from Istanbul in terms of design,” said Bağış, Anatolia news agency reported. The biennial was organized by the İKSV and curated by Emre Arolat and Joseph Grima. Its theme was suggested by Deyan Sudjic, an Istanbul Design Biennial advisory board member and the director of the Design Museum in London. The biennial’s exhibitions will explore creative products and projects from all disciplines of the creative industries in major fields from urban design to architecture; interior architecture; and industrial, graphic, fashion and new media design, as well as their subfields.

Exhibitions will include 514 projects, 236 of which are of Turkish origin, while the remaining 278 come from 48 other countries around the world, including the United States, Germany, Belgium, France, Britain, Italy, Spain and Greece.

The theme of imperfection was interpreted by curators Arolat and Grima via their own independent approaches in two separate exhibits that will be hosted in the biennial’s two venues.

Events of the biennial

The Istanbul Design Biennial aims will bring university students together with the biennial’s audience and organizers via an academic program, in which the biennial will collaborate with 74 departments at 26 universities in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Eskişehir and Northern Cyprus, as it aims to emphasize the importance of design education.

The biennial will also present a rich selection of documentary films in different creative fields in its film screening program, beginning in November. Eighteen documentary films covering a wide spectrum of design topics, including architecture, fashion design, industrial design, graphic design, gastronomy and urban design, will be shown at the Chamber of Architects, the Pera Museum and the French Cultural Center. Some film screenings will also feature accompanying talks.

The biennial’s “Parallel Participants” program allows design-focused companies and architectural design studios to participate by organizing activities at their own venues, following the biennial theme, in order to present their own design approaches and projects to the biennial audience.

The biennial’s program also includes Design Walks, which offer participants special walking tours to design venues and locales.