June 30, 2014

Memo From Istanbul: What’s Trending

After a decade of growth—widely considered unsustainable—the city’s art and design scenes are coming to a rolling boil. Even conservative Muslims have reaped the economic rewards and are looking for ways, in line with their beliefs, to spend it: Huqqa, designed by Geomim’s Mahmut Anlar, goes from day to night 24/7, from a restaurant so up-to-date that the menus are iPads to an alcohol-free nightclub complete with VIP rooms fragrant with narghile smoke.

Designers are reaching and educating the design consumer directly, opening their own showrooms with adjoining studios or workshops as did 333 km or curating their own concept shops as Sema Topalolu will do in Karaköy this September.

In a populist vein, Tasarm Atölyesi Kad köy (TAK) is an urban planning and architecture non-profit that unites residents of Kadiköy, local government and architects with fresh ideas. In spite of the potentially hobbling tie to politics, TAK’s efforts may one day provide a model for a more democratic Istanbul architecture.

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