The designers Laura Jungmann, Dorothee Mainka, Pierre Kracht, Jonathan Radetz, Florian Saul and Michael Konstantin Wolke decided to travel to Istanbul to find out more about the city‘s fascinating artisan districts so well known for their crafts. On their trip they hoped to experience the impact this field of work, the city and its traditional production methods and structures can have on the design process and the design itself.
To this day Istanbul‘s artisan districts Şişhane and Galata are filled with a variety of small workshops where every artisan is a specialist for certain materials or processing techniques and crafts. They use simple machines in small spaces and if something is not accessible, their skill for improvising knows no end. Almost anything becomes possible as the individual craftsmen work hand in hand, supporting each other with their special skills as needed.
Despite this potential, Şişhane and Galata‘s traditions in artisanry are facing extinction. Cheap import goods from Asia, a rising lease price and the master plan for Beyoglu which aims at relocating all production businesses and by doing so, will most likely degrade the area to an arbitrary tourist neighbourhood, are responsible for the city‘s decline in craftsmanship. On top of that, traditional artisanry is continuously becoming less attractive for younger generations and without successors in the field, the knowledge and experience can not be passed on.
For the design collective, this cooperation can especially stand to benefit from expert knowledge from their partner Aslı Kıyak İngin, founder of the initiative “Made in Şişhane” as well as designer Pierre Kracht, who has created and cultivated the annual workshop series “Mit Grüßen aus Istanbul” (Greetings from Istanbul) since 2013. The project and its partner initiatives aim at emphasizing gentrification in the above mentioned areas to oppose the crafts workshops‘ pending extinction by offering new creative ideas and solutions.
In the project Istanbul‘dan, the designers have come together to create products and concepts that draw inspiration from the city‘s potentials and to illustrate new methods and approaches in design. Istanbul‘dan is a tribute not only to Istanbul, but also its inhabitants and its local crafts.