Design Biennial


Advisory Board

Design Biennial Team

Curatorial Statement


Istanbul Design Biennial


With the aim of underlining the importance of design for production, economy, cultural interaction and quality of life, the Istanbul Design Biennial is open to all disciplines of the creative industries in major fields such as urban design, architecture, interior, industrial, graphic, new media and fashion design, as well as their subfields. The biennial aims to explore the products, creative ideas and discourses of the relevant fields and generate interactive relations within the society.

Turkey's growing role as an economic, political and cultural center has highlighted the importance of innovation and design and encouraged the development of creative industries, particularly in the multicultural metropolis of Istanbul. One of the Biennial’s primary objectives, therefore, is to celebrate this creative potential and share it with the international audience in the belief that diverse perspectives and the distinctive design discourse of Istanbul will enrich the global design culture.

The Istanbul Design Biennial primarily aims to raise public awareness with regards to "design" issues, to create a platform that supports the development of design and innovation policies and to support the constitution of a design archive on national and international scale. The biennial exhibitions aim to tackle global design problems by displaying various solutions and reveal the creative potential inherent in this area.

By displaying important examples both from Turkey and abroad, the Istanbul Design Biennial aims to discuss the notion of design and introduce different tendencies, movements and progressive thoughts to the audience. The biennial does not only intend to be an event that brings together a variety of activities lasting for two months, but also seeks to ensure long-term developments in social and cultural fields and to create an ongoing process with its yearlong activities.

Advisory Board

Marianne Goebl
Selva Gürdoğan
Gökhan Karakuş
Zoe Ryan
Alexander von Vegesack


Deniz Ova
Communication and Operations Coordinator
Bahar Türkay
Exhibition and Project Coordinator
Merve Yücel
Ümit Mesci
Design Districts Coordinator
Yeşim Birhekimoğlu
Exhibition and Project Assistant
Gözde Çelebi


Ayşe Bulutgil
Özlem Bekiroğlu Aldoğan
Elif Obdan Gürkan (International Media)
Duygu Su Pur
Visual Archive Associates
Özge Özgüleryüz
Poyraz Tütüncü
Ayşen Gürkan
Zeynep Seyhun (International Media)
Ayşe Zeynep Güldiken
Erdem Arda Güneş

Archive Photos
Muammer Yanmaz
Ilgın Erarslan Yanmaz
Mahmut Ceylan
Ali Güler

Archive Videos
Hamit Çakır
Mehmet Kartbak


Selçuk Metin


Didem Ermiş
Merve Evirgen
Erim Şerifoğlu
Publications Operator
Ferhat Balamir
Graphic Designer
Selin Pervan
Sezen Özgür


Yasemin Keretli Çavuşoğlu
Zeynep Pekgöz
Zeynep Karaman
Sponsorship Relations Associate
Irmak Kaleli
Operation Associate
Pelin Davidyan
Melissa Ece Köpük


Tuba Tortop
Marketing Manager
İrem Akev Uluç
Sales and Business Development Manager
Dilan Beyhan
Marketing Associates
Cansu Aşkın
Meriç Yirmili
Membership Programme Coordinator
Yıldız Lale Yıldırım
Membership Programme Associate
Gülce Şahin
Sales and Business Development Associate
Gonca Varol
Ticket Sales Operations Coordinator
Ercan Kaya
Ticket Sales Assistant
Neva Abrar
Field Operations Associate
Sezer Kari
Field Operations Assistant
Enes Yayla
Digital Media Associate
Bahar Helvacıoğlu
Social Media Assistant
Sedef Can
CRM Associate
Özge Genç
Box Officers
Deniz Telek
Burak Akgün


Erdal Hamamcı

Ali Uluç Kutal


Esra Çankaya


Head of Finance and Administration
Ahmet Balta


Ahmet Buruk (Budget and Accounting)
Başak Sucu Yıldız (Finance)
Accounting Associates
Kadir Altoprak
Deniz Yılmaz
Çiğdem Arslan
Tuğçe Çavdar


Aslı Yurdanur


Semin Aksoy
Human Resources Specialist
Eren Ertekin
Human Resources Assistant
Cansu Zülfikar
Building Administration and Security Manager
Ersin Kılıçkan
System Manager
Kadir Ayyıldız
Reception Officer
Işıl Öztürk
Warehouse Officers
Muzaffer Sayan
Şerif Kocaman
Özden Atukeren
Aşkın Bircan
İbrahim Çakmak
Aydın Kaya
Hayrullah Nişancı
Serap Sürgit
Müzeyyen Öztürk


Curatorial Statement

2 seconds, 2 days, 2 years, 200 years, 200,000 years

The 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial explores the intimate relationship between the concepts of “design” and “human.” Design always presents itself as serving the human but its real ambition is to redesign the human. The history of design is therefore a history of evolving conceptions of the human. To talk about design is to talk about the state of our species. Humans have always been radically reshaped by the designs they produce and the world of design keeps expanding. We live in a time when everything is designed, from our carefully crafted individual looks and online identities, to the surrounding galaxies of personal devices, new materials, interfaces, networks, systems, infrastructures, data, chemicals, organisms, and genetic codes. The average day involves the experience of thousands of layers of design that reach to outer space but also reach deep into our bodies and brains. We literally live inside design, like the spider lives inside the web constructed from inside its own body. But unlike the spider, we have spawned countless overlapping and interacting webs. Even the planet itself has been completely encrusted by design as a geological layer. There is no longer an outside to the world of design. Design has become the world.

Design is the most human thing about us. Design is what makes the human. It is the basis of social life, from the very first artefacts to the exponential expansion of human capability. But design also engineers inequalities and new forms of neglect. More people than ever in history are forcibly displaced by war, lawlessness, poverty, and climate at the same time that the human genome and the weather are being actively redesigned. We can no longer reassure ourselves with the idea of “good design.” Design needs to be redesigned.

ARE WE HUMAN? : The Design of the Species : 2 seconds, 2 years, 200 years, 200,000 years invites a wide arrange of designers and thinkers from around the world to respond to a compact set of eight interlinked propositions:


These propositions will be explored over the coming year in events, classes, workshops, and online discussions – including open calls for responses to the propositions by short videos. This year of exploration around the world will culminate in a dense program of exhibitions, debates, broadcasts and publications during the six weeks of the Biennial in Istanbul that opens in October 2016.

This Biennial is an archaeological project. It is not about celebrating particular designers or about visualizing remarkable futures. It will be a multi-media documentary about the state of design today, when everyday reality has outpaced science fiction. It will place the extreme condition of contemporary design into the context of the extended 200,000 year history of our species – from the first standardized ornaments and the footprints of the first shoes to the latest digital and carbon footprints. A Biennial normally focuses on the last 2 years. The time frame for this exhibition will span from the last 2 seconds to the last 200,000 years. Ancient archaeological artefacts from Turkey and the region will be presented at the heart of the Biennial to reframe the latest real-time thinking about design.


Architectural historian and theorist Beatriz Colomina is Professor of Architecture and Founding Director of the Program in Media and Modernity at Princeton University. Her books include Manifesto Architecture: The Ghost of Mies (Sternberg Press, 2014), Clip/Stamp/Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X-197X  (2010), Domesticity at War (2007), Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media (1994) and Sexuality and Space (1992). She is curator with a team of Princeton Ph.D. students of the exhibitions Clip/Stamp/Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X-197X (which opened at Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, 2006 and has travelled to 12 cities worldwide), Playboy Architecture, 1953-79 (which opened at NAi Maastricht, 2012 and was at the Deutsche Architektur Museum in Frankfurt in 2014), and Radical Pedagogies (Lisbon Triennale 2013, Venice Biennale 2014 and Warsaw Under Construction Festival, 2015). Beatriz Colomina was born in Madrid and lives in New York.

Architecture historian, theorist, and critic from New Zealand based in New York, Mark Wigley is Professor and Dean Emeritus of Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. The author of The Architecture of Deconstruction: Derrida's Haunt (1993), White Walls, Designer Dresses: The Fashioning of Modern Architecture (1995), and Constant's New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire (1998), he co-edited, with Catherine de Zegher, The Activist Drawing: Retracing Situationist Architectures from Constant's New Babylon to Beyond (2001) and was one of the founders of Volume magazine. He has curated exhibitions at the MoMA and The Drawing Center in New York, the Witte de With in Rotterdam, and the CCA in Montreal. His latest book is Buckminster Fuller Inc.: Architecture in the Age of Radio (Lars Muller, 2015).

Pemra Ataç Açıktan was born in Eskişehir. She finished Anadolu University Fine Arts Faculty Graphic Design Department. After working as an art director in Y&R/Reklamevi, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe / Y&R London and Alametifarika, she worked as a creative director in TBWAIstanbul. She was awarded “Eczacıbaşı Foundation, Young Designer of the Year” twice. She founded her own design agency, Daniska in 2008. Moreover, she is Managing Creative Director of Rabarba since 2013. She is honoured by tens of awards from many platforms such as Turkish Graphic Designers Association and Crystal Apple. She was listed as one of the 15 women who made a change in Turkey in “Women to Watch” organised by Advertising Age all over the world in 2014. She focuses on fields such as brand name, brand strategy, emblem, logo, poster, packaging, book, press release, commercial film and interactive design.

Yetkin Başarır is a multi-disciplinary designer living and working in Istanbul, and is currently a creative director at I-AM design agency. Başarır was recently honoured with 2011 Turkish Industry and Business Association Logo Design Award and was selected as a jury member for the Exhibition of Graphic Products in 2004. Başarır’s photographs were exhibited in such exhibitions as Edisyon, Istanbul (2010); ...için Sanat, Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Centre, Istanbul (2005); and IFA Galleries in Stuttgart and Berlin (2004). Selected design works include Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture identity design, the Kent typeface for Istanbul city identification system (2006), except for his innumerable book and exhibition catalogue designs. Başarır has recently designed the comprehensive “Contemporary Art in Turkey 1986-2006” authored by Halil Altındere and Süreyyya Evren. Başarır was the co-founder of design and consultancy company Pakt and independent artists' gallery Edisyon among others.

After graduating from the Anatolian Highschool of Fine Arts, Özge Güven went on to study Graphic Design at Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts completing both a Bachelor and Masters degree. During this time she also took part in a placement program with Ontwerpwerk Multidisciplinary in their Graphic Design department. Özge has previously worked at Emre Senan Design and Consultancy, where she worked alongside Emre Senan for both their clients and the Yahşibey Design Workshops. During this time Özge also worked as a freelance designer for her own clients, and occasionally collaborated with other designers on special projects. At İletişim Publishing Özge created a new brand identity for the company and also designed various book covers. Additionally she has worked at Serdar Benli Design Studio, MAT Design and Lava Design Amsterdam and is currently working as an Art Director at TWBAISTANBUL. Özge's work has garnered awards from the Association of Turkish Graphic Designers, European Design Awards, Crystal Apple, Kırmızı Best in Print, MediacCat Felis and EPICA, and has been shortlisted at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Okay Karadayılar was born in Bursa in 1983 and graduated from Istanbul Bilgi University’s Visual Communication Design Department. He co-founded İmkanmekan, a thought platform for design in/of public space; Bandrolsüz, a collective of independent artist book publishers, and Book Lab, an annual book design event. He has been working independently, mostly in the cultural field and he values sincerity above all in every branch of communication.

Sarp Sözdinler was born in 1989, in Izmir and studied Computer Engineering at Bahcesehir University and later, Graphic Design at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna and Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts. Sözdinler worked and lived in Belgium, Italy, Vienna and Istanbul. After various jobs at studios such as Base Design in Brussels, VtwoB in Modena, and working with designers such as Bülent Erkmen, Mehmet Ali Türkmen, Haluk Tuncay, Pemra Ataç and Aslı Altay in Turkey, he founded his solo design studio in May 2014. Having worked for clients such as Olympic Museum in Lausanne, de Singel Arts Campus in Antwerp, Xavier Hufkens Gallery in Brussels, Ministry of Sound in London, and the likes of Mamut Art Project, Istanbul Modern, SALT, Borusan Music Centre, Art International, Contemporary Istanbul, Pozitif Live, SAHA, and with Semih Kaplanoglu in Istanbul, he is now heading to New York City to work for the design studio, Sagmeister&Walsh.

Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation is a Madrid and New York based architectural practice that explores the role of architecture in the making of societies at the intersection of design and politics. They are the makers of ‘COSMO, MoMA PS1’, ‘Plasencia Clergy House’, ‘House in Never Never Land’, ‘IKEA Disobedients’, ‘TUPPER HOME’, ‘PHANTOM. Mies as Rendered Society’ and ‘ESCARAVOX’. Their work is part of the MoMA collection and has been exhibited at the MAK in Vienna, Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the Design Museum in London. Andrés Jaque (architect, ETSAM, 1997; Heinrich Tessenow Stipendiat, 1998-99) is Professor of Advanced Architectural Design at the Columbia University GSAPP and Visiting Professor at Princeton University SoA. His work has been extensively published in a great range of diverse media including A+U, Domus, El Croquis, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Volume and Wired.

Evangelos Kotsioris is a Ph.D. candidate in the History and Theory Program at Princeton School of Architecture, where he is completing his dissertation titled “Komp’iuter Architecture(s): 195X-198X.” His research focuses on the intersections of architecture with science, technology and media. Kotsioris graduated with first class honours from the School of Architecture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2009) and earned his post-professional Master in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (2011). Previously, he had worked at OMA-AMO in Rotterdam (2007-08). He has taught at Princeton SoA and A&A, Harvard GSD, Boston Architectural College and The Cooper Union. He is Co-curator of the ongoing collaborative research project Radical Pedagogies, which was awarded a Special Mention at the 14th Venice Biennale of Architecture (2014). Kotsioris’ writing has appeared in The Architectural Review, New Geographies, Volume, Conditions, On Site and Pidgin among others. His design work has been featured in exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2006), the World Triennial of Architecture (2009), the 6th Biennale of Young Greek Architects (2010), GREAT 2013 (2013) and in publications such as GSD Platform, Conditions, Frame and Mark.

Iván López Munuera is a contemporary art and architecture critic and curator, and a Ph.D. candidate in the History and Theory of Architecture at Princeton University. He explores the inscription of contemporary art in the critical context of the social sciences and mass media studies. He worked as a curator, and held positions of documentation and management in institutions like Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, ACAX (Agency for Contemporary Art Exchange), Ludwig Museum, CA2M, Matadero Madrid, ARCO, MAPFRE Foundation, Comunidad de Madrid, Fundació Suñol, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo or Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales. He has curated, among other exhibitions, The Dark Side Of The Party, Festival SOS4.8, 2015; Fan Riots, Festival SOS4.8, 2014; Pop Politics: Activisms at 33 Revolutions, CA2M, 2012-13; El Ranchito, Matadero, 2010-12; Circuitos MMX, Comunidad de Madrid, 2010; Los Esquizos de Madrid, MNCARS, 2009; Fundació Suñol, 2009; and CAAC, 2010.