Istanbul’s creative industries on display at Design Biennial

Istanbul’s creative industries on display at Design Biennial

Istanbul’s creative industries on display at Design Biennial

The first Istanbul Design Biennial will be organized around the theme of ‘Imperfection’ with the participation of hundreds of designers from Turkey and the world.

The first Istanbul Design Biennial will open Oct. 12, taking the Galata Greek Primary School and Istanbul Modern as its main venues and the theme of “Imperfection” as its focus. It will feature work by hundreds of designers from Turkey and around the world, and will continue through Dec. 12.

The biennial is organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (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.

The 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.

Istanbul’s creative industries on display at Design Biennial

Joseph Grima


The theme of imperfection is interpreted by curators Arolat and Grima via their own independent approaches in two separate exhibits at the biennial’s two venues. Arola’s exhibit “Musibet” will be displayed at Istanbul Modern, while Grima’s “Adhocracy” will be shown at the Galata Greek Primary School. An associated academic program, workshops, exhibitions and parallel events for biennial participants will be spread across the city.

Arolat constructs the framework of his exhibition “Musibet: The Aestheticization of Context and Anti-Context in Design along the Axis of the Grand Transformation” by questioning the urban and architectural design of contemporary Istanbul. The exhibition’s content fall under two main headings: “Transformation” and “Anti-Context,” which question urban transformation and social tension.

Grima’s “Adhocracy” explores the final user as a part of the design and manufacturing process, one of the most significant contemporary changes in the design world. The exhibition will have a dynamic, complex and innovative structure which challenges slow, bureaucratic processes and the traditional relationship between designers, users and manufacturers.

Film screenings, talks and walks
The Design Biennial aims to emphasize the importance of design education in Turkey, and 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. The universities participating in the biennial’s academic program will display projects on their campuses during the biennial. These exhibitions will be open to the public and free of charge.

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 seminar “Idea City Istanbul” will take place at the Hasköy İplik Fabrikası on Oct. 11 as part of the Istanbul Design Biennial, with the cooperation of the New Museum and sponsorship from the Audi Urban Future Initiative. A ceremony to present the Audi Urban Future Awards, the competition for which is also part of the biennial, will be held on Oct. 18.

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 “Design Walks” will offer a series of special walking tours to design offices, stores, ateliers manufacturing sites and notable architectural sites in the city.