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Designers Re-Evaluate the Turkish Context


Turkish designers are becoming more aware that the “peculiarities of the Turkish context” (Er, H. A., 2001) as a developing country may also provide some advantages to them. The existence of a relatively inexpensive local production base is such an advantage that some designers make use of. Özlem Tuna, Hülya Çelik Pabuçcuoğlu, Aylin Gümüşoğlu and Batuhan Yüce are some designers who continue their businesses around the historical but still active production and trade centers of Istanbul such as the Grand Bazaar (Kapalıçarşı) and Şişhane. Some designers also started to engage with local problems such as the example of “40 Gün 40 Gece Sulukule Platform” started by an architect (Aslı Kıyak Ingin) and supported by design academics and designers. The “Made in Şişhane” initiative is another one started to pinpoint the potentials of a historical production and trade center through design intervention (http://www.madeinsishane.com). Some of these activities were reported in international conferences and journals (Kaya et al., 2008; Çetinkaya, 2009; Kaya and Yağız, 2010). It is possible to talk about an attitude change among Turkish designers towards the local context that despite all its deficiencies, it is also the main medium for differentiation as a rich source of new problem definitions and design solutions, new forms of practice and inspiration which may also be valid for the global context (Er and Kaya, 2008).