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Photography: Sahir Ugur Eren

Istanbul Design Biennale 2012

The future is not what it used to be.

Superpool was asked together with Project Projects to assist Zoë Ryan and Meredith Carruthers to jointly create the spatial and graphic framework for the biennale.

With the choice of the Galata Greek School to be the venue for the biennale, the exhibition found itself in a building of neo-classic style, constructed in the late nineteenth century. No longer functioning as a school the building has found itself used for cultural activities of various types over the last years. Though the activities are not so far in type from the original educational program most of the times the building struggling to accommodate its new visitors.

Based on the theme and brief of the curators a design emerged that splits the building in two, allowing for tighter curatorial narrative as the visitors walks up the wide staircases now divided – left half for going up, right side for descending. The bifurcation starts at the main hallway and with its angular beginning directs the visitors up. The translucent fabric used as the divider carries statements from the projects exhibited, sequenced to entice the visitor to continue their journey.

Having completed the loop the visitors once again find her or himself in the assembly hall. The hall slightly intimidating when empty the challenge was here to create a place that would feel warm and welcoming, for visitors to reflect over the exhibition and allow for debates and workshops to take place.

To find materials that would complement the building we looked to the past and the future. Exhibition and workshop tables are of sandblasted marble complementing the delicate use of terrazzo and tiles of the school while also creating a refined backdrop to the works exhibited. The tables will be reused in future events arranged by IKSV. The chairs and the seating island are made of expanded cork from Portugal based cork producer Amorim. Harvested once every 9 years the cork absorbs CO2 through its lifetime and hence is one of the few building materials that contributes negatively to our CO2 emission. During the expansion-process, the cork is heated up and the it releases its natural content of resin which then works as the binding material keeping the material together. For optimum material use the received 1 x 0.5 x 0.2 meter raw cork blocks were then split in half to become chairs or on the diagonal for the islands curvilinear geometry, by mirroring or flipping each piece no material goes to waste.

Selva Gürdoğan, Gregers Tang Thomsen, Nikitas Gkavogiannis, Derya İyikul, Ruggero Droghetti, Oscar de Bakker, Taha Sezgin

Type: Exhibition Design
Size: 4.000 m2
Client: IKSV
Collaborators: Project Projects, Amorim
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Status: Completed