June 30, 2014

Memo From Istanbul: People Are Talking About

Istambullus are talking about how to make a living by creating. They are embracing—as Turks always have—an updated hybridity: new and old, local and global, industry and craft, discipline crossed with discipline.

Multidisciplinary creative platform Istanbul ’74 opened a second gallery space this May, furthering its mission to connect Turkish with international culture through exhibitions, performance, publishing and events. ’74’s offices are in burgeoning waterfront Karaköy, which hosts the critically praised Istanbul Art Biennial, the country’s first design biennial launched in 2012 and, in October 2014, what will be its second.

Karaköy’s tiny working class backstreets are now dotted liberally with galleries like Mana, the luminously tiled eatery, Karaköy Lokantas, Europhile cafes like Karabatak and the new fusion eatery Gaspar designed by Autoban and inspired by knolling, the process of arranging like objects in parallel or 90 degree angles as a method of organization. There are also new boutique hotels, high-end “junk” shops, and a nightclub that doubles as a New York-style artists’ flea market called Souq.

If it is difficult to make a living selling ideas and modern design in Istanbul, and challenging to bring designers together to solve the problem, no one is admitting defeat. They’re just trying it every which way and then making up another way to try tomorrow (more on this in our Insider’s Take with up-and-comers Atölye).

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