Designer Ali Bakova tells us about the philosophy of creating, to his projects and his new store called”USTA: IDEA”, which will be opening soon in Galata.
Architecture of life: Would you like to tell us a little about your story in the design?
Ali Bakova:After graduating from METU I have Gained a great deal of experience working as a product and brand managers in different companies, then I went back to designing.I create my products particularly in a rather traditional and authentic way that is close to the craft.I try to apply the main concepts of this region’s popular culture that is shaped by the culture of Immigrants and Minorities.
Architecture of life: Which materials do you prefer using mainly in your designs? Is there a common theme of your creations?
Ali Bakova: I prefer using natural materials such as glass, leather and felt, however we are not artists so we reach a joint resolution on what kind of material to use after the client’s briefing and according to the way of producing. I persist in saying what I wrote in the manifest when I was offered a curator’s position in 2004 Istanbul Designweek:“If the art is the eye of the soul, then the design is the eye of the mind”. My goal in my designs is to introduce this region’s traditional functionality to the modern life. My efforts are to emphasize the permanent and unique contribution of Turkey to the currently multiplying, shiny, seemingly functional and variable design movements all around the world. What I am trying to achieve is a modern synthesis by looking into the entire cultural accumulation on this land with a traditional awareness.
Architecture of life: What inspires you?
Ali Bakova: My collection called“Like/As:Gibi/Gibi” which I started in 2010, aroused a lot of interest in MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York and this was a major sign that showed me my collection and designs would never grow obsolute. My inspiration has always come from my origins and my dreams… This approach of mine appears to be continued unless anything new that I would believe in comes up. Our etimology and language, the fauna of this region, marriage of relatives are what inspired the mule pack called“your mother was a donkey” whereas the jug and the carafe called“global warming” refers to the global warming. I suppose my saying“Everybody has an opinion but some people have knowledge” still counts.
On the left: Robo-doll Mustafa from the Prison Break series made with glass beads.
On the right:“Your father is a donkey, you mule” series refering to inbreeding.
Architecture of life:Could you tell us about the Spagar Design Istanbul Design Exhibition, took place in Marta Herford, Modern German Design Museum from the end of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011?
Ali Bakova:As far as I know, after the“Turkish Touch Design-Milano” exhibition thanks to Nurus’s efforts, this is the first time Turkish Designer’s products have been displayed in a European museum. And, we have witnessed a major development concerning the Turkish Design History with the help of the book Spagat. It was important for us that the curator has lived in Istanbul for over 3 months and created the exhibition after the meetings with us.The name of the exhibition,”Spagat” is a German word meaning splitting the legs in ballet like a bridge, which refers to the metaphor of bridge in Istanbul.12 of my designs have been chosen for Spagat Design İstanbul Design Exhibition”; and it was a great surprise to see my”Mustafa” character which was produced in prison just along with the book of Nazim Hikmet.And attention”Galata pre.fabrik” chair and”Fes.ti.wall” felt carpet drew was quite unexpected even for me.
“Global warming” carafe and jug design refering to its name.
Architecture of life:What do you think of MoMa’s Destionation: İstanbul selection?
Ali Bakova: It was inevitable to see İstanbul selection in MoMA’s traditional series.Previously, it was done for Brasil, Portuguese, Germany and Japan. If I speak for myself, I have learnt much from the MoMA team during the selection. I found it interesting to have conditions such as that the designs should have already been produced and sold and they should be functional. Best news for me was that”Tr” coffee pot& saucer design has now been included in MoMA Exclusive series and its selling right in USA is watched by MoMA.
Architecture of life:Let’s talk about your new store”USTA: IDEA” that you will open in Galata? How did you decide to open a store?
Ali Bakova:Galata now began to seem to everybody as the center of design in Istanbul.We see that the design and art is being combined with eachother, creating a new synthesis and I’m aware that we can expect a (completely) new design approach born in Istanbul.To my mind,”USTA:IDEA” will be one of the main channels of this approach.
Architecture of life:What about your future projects?
Ali Bakova: Days are going quite busy… Last year,”Galata/ Pisa” jag and glass set was chosen for”La observeur du design 2011″ exhibition in Paris; following that, the”Spagat” exhibition and the designs bought by MoMA this year,”Default Magazine” that I do consultation for design, workshops in KDC…As for the future projects; now we really should have a”design museum”, I make a great deal of effort to establish one.Also, I am looking forward to get to know the curator of 2012 Istanbul Design Biennial and the theme she/he will choose.