Istanbul meets Graz
Istanbul - like Graz a UNESCO City of Design - is an important partner city during Design Month Graz 2019. The metropolis on the Bosporus presents itself with an exhibition at designforum and different workshops and lectures on the Murinsel.
© Istanbul Design Bureau

Istanbul is one of those magical places that have their own rhythm and pace. Being a metropolis between the Orient and Occident, a bridge builder between Europe and Asia and a melting pot of different influences, Istanbul, like any city of this size, is difficult to grasp as a whole. The worlds that it connects are too diverse, the heterogeneous cultural heritage is too rich, and the historical symbolic power of this place appears too powerful to be understood it in its plurality. It is certain that it is this heterogeneity that creates something new, and Istanbul, as a creative city, shows virtually prototypical characteristics for it. The output of the creatives and artists is correspondingly large, in short, Istanbul does inspire.

It is not surprising that in such a complex environment, design also takes its own direction. “Design from Istanbul” unites all the characteristics associated with the mega-city. “Timelessness” is one of those clichés that people like to associate with the term “design”, and time also plays a major role in the exhibition “Istanbul Design Collection”. However, the showcase only adds an additional dimension to the idea of time. For it is not so much the design of the objects that is “timeless” but rather the needs of the people that the design was made for. Further, all this was designed in a place where time does not stand still, but where life proceeds at a different pace.

“Istanbul Design Collection” comprises works from various fields and disciplines: graphic and industrial design, fashion, architecture, but also traditional arts and crafts. “Visitors can expect a selection of Turkish design culture from several decades and discover Istanbul as a city of great cultural diversity,” says exhibition curator Genco Demirer. The show includes minimalistic products like a bench made of stone, as well as ornamentally decorated commodities such as coffee cups, vases or plates displaying simple motifs from everyday life by the sea: water, fish, fruit.

The Istanbul focus is the result of many years of networking by Creative Industries Styria, exceeding the activities of Design Month Graz. In 2018, an employee of the Istanbul Design Bureau worked for Creative Industries Styria for three weeks. In March 2019 there was the first Istanbul Design Summit in the city at the Golden Horn, where Creative Industries Styria functioned as a cooperation partner and responsible for a panel on the topic of design policy. Additionally, the event Fifteen Seconds Festival is reaching out to Istanbul as a potential event location.