Oya Akman’s journey in industrial design began in 1972. And she still keeps on going, without a break, without a change in direction. She became industrial design’s pioneer in Turkey; she took on great pains and enjoyed every minute of it. Oya Akman, who defines herself as a detailer and a perfectionist, tells that for a good night’s sleep she must be happy with her designed product. It can be said it is a very stressful process for her.
She starts her projects with an all-around, comprehensive research. She likes sharing whatever she finds out so as to make others continue researching for more. She knows the necessity for the society she lives in to transform into an information society, and tries to inoculate people with this idea.
While her every product carries the Oya Akman signature, they also express innovative approach, technological differences and simple, clear and ergonomical solutions. Then, this creativity gets proven by international awards. Her European Union Women Inventors and Innovators Network award of 2009 is one of the most important of those. For 2 days, you talk about your product to a jury of ministers of economy, patent attorneys and professionals and they meet you with hard questions. Besides being the first and only Woman designer of Turkey to win this EU WIIN award, Akman has uncountable Label observeurs, German Design Awards and many others.
You are the design advisor for Şişe Cam-Anadolu Cam A.Ş., a lecturer in İTU and a designer for your brand Oya Design. On the other hand, you have these products manufactured, promote them and sell them. Which one of these is the most enjoyable for you?
All of them are enjoyable in their own ways. Being an advisor for a world leader establishment, adding to new designs, technical innovations are all very exciting. On the other hand, I see passing my knowledge to the youth as my duty. But I’m most free when I design for my own company and brand. I’m free to do what I want to do according to my predictions and targets; and I do it. I always met my targets for Oya Design. I get many complimentary mails and partnership offers from different corners of the world. These make me happy particularly.
If you were to evaluate ‘Industrial Design’ as a member of industry, an educational institute and an independent design brand, where are we in the world scale?
In industry, we are more like ‘I did it, too’ I mean, we do whatever everyone else does. We manufacture quality stuff, but there are no inventions or real technological innovations and there are no innovative products to set us in a new direction in terms of design. In education, you need to give technological information together with creativity. Our students don’t know much about materials and technology. They are good at creating concepts but cannot reach completeness in production. Because I’ve been designing for manufacture for years and follow and attend the world fairs, as the founder of Oya Design I see myself successful. My products are ordered from and marketed in many different countries. I believe brands like mine are successful.
Interest for your products is high both locally and abroad, they won many national and international awards. You enjoy what you do, what is next for you?
Lighting, food products and construction (architecture) design. Architectural structure designs are always in a corner of my mind. If an architect can make industrial designs, an industrial designer can create architectural solutions, too. For example, in Emily Carr University architectural projects are taught under the Industrial Design Department. I think this is a groundbreaking development.
The packagings you design as the Şişecam Design Advisor are very various. From juices to honey packaging… Recently the packaging you designed for Binbirçiçek was found worthy of many new awards. What sets it different?
What’s important in the design of Binbirçiçek packaging is that it includes the breakfast bowl concept. We can say that its most distinctive properties are that it is completely ergonomical, it presents a large area for a label tag, it has a complete aesthetic visual design that symbolizes the brand and the product inside, and it is economical for manufacture in terms of energy, process and materials used.
Do you have a new collection for your brand? How about a new partnership?
We design for different sectors all the time. Also for Oya Design and for Van-Co Design& Production Ltd. of Canada– of which I’m a partner of– we design and produce new series from different materials for different areas, including textile.
What do you recommend to young people who observe your innovative approach and take your dedication to your job and your passion for design as an example for themselves?
I recommend that they like their profession and think again every single day with an innovative approach, continuosly improve themselves, be visionaries, follow the global market well and closely and be happy for all of these.