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Dutch Salon at new Istanbul Design Biennial

On the banks of the Bosporus the Istanbul Design Biennial started several weeks ago. This new event will take place until December 12, 2012. An important part of the program is executed by Salon, the Dutch platform for design, fashion and art. 

By Jeroen Junte / 08-11-2012

“We are proud that we have so many Dutch designers represented here”, says Ozlem Yalim, director of the design biennial. “The Dutch are world famous and their presence can contribute immensely to the status and the promotion of our new event.”

Salon selected works of over thirty Dutch designer that are shown at surprising locations scattered around Istanbul’s old city district Beyoğlu. “We want to show fashion and design in an everyday context so people who normally wouldn’t get in touch with it, can experience it in casual way.  You get a different view on a pair of shoes of designer Iris van Herpen when they are standing in the window of a travel agency”, says Gijs Stork, who manages Salon with Manon Schaap.

Beautiful pictures by Vivianne Sassen can be found on the  tiled walls of a ordinary lunchroom or haute couture by designer Marga Weimans hanging in the cold neon light of a rundown carpenters’ workshop. “The color and texture of the fabric reminded us of wood”, explains Schaap about this remarkable choice of location.

The choice of objects was made with Turkish context in mind. Selected are Dutch, Turkish and Dutch-Turkish designers. The sisters Anne and Meis de Jongh present Jongh Geleerd, Oud Gedaan (a play on words meaning learned young, practiced when old), a study of the traditional embroidery and lacework techniques of Turkish and Moroccan immigrant wives. The lacework functioned as an inspiration for a jewelry collection. Though a link with Istanbul was not a must; Salon also selected the hysterical fabrics of fashion designer Bas Kosters or the minimalistic Waterjugs on a table in a boutique hotel. Stork: “The inhabitants of Istanbul must have a chance to get acknowledged with typical Dutch design.”

Salon also participated in a series of workshops where young Dutch designers were coupled with local craftsman and small workshops. “Dutch designers get a chance to work with crafts that are distinct in their own country. The Turkish craftsmen are challenged to experiment with new techniques and  innovate their collection”, explains Schaap. The artist duo Noman worked with carpet weavers. “We asked them to make carpets in strange forms like triangles,” says Lara Tolman, one half of Noman. “At first they were reserved. But later they became really enthusiastic. Though our carpets were still too awkward for them to consider serial production. But in the Netherlands a carpet weaver would never take the effort to produce even a single piece.”

More Dutch designers are represented at Istanbul Design Biennial in the architectural exhibition Musibet in the Museum for Modern Art. Featured here is Making City, a project that was executed as part of the International Architecture Biennial Rotterdam (IABR) earlier this year. It compares three architectural project in Rotterdam, Istanbul and the Brazilian metropole Sao Paulo. In Rotterdam the architectural firm ZUS realized a walking bridge that connect the different parts of the scattered Rotterdam centre with crowd funding and civilian participation. “Urban renewal in Istanbul is dictated by private investors and a slow bureaucracy. A bottom-up project such as our bridge in Rotterdam could be the way to a more social city planning”, says Christian Korevaar, architect at ZUS and member of the curatorial team of Making City. 

In the main exhibition Adhocracy, curated by DOMUS-editor Joseph Grima, Dutch designers and alumni from the Design Academy Eindhoven are also well represented. The Belgium designstudio Unfold shows Kiosk 2.0, a mobile bike-factory that consist of a 3D-printer and a fast internet connection. With this, products can be made and sold on street corners as though they were flowers or hotdogs. Bas Princen shows the pictures of 900km Nile City, a project in which the Nile-delta is presented a metropole.

During the opening weekend of the Istanbul Design Biennial multiple Dutch events were organized by various Dutch institutions as part of the celebration 400 years of trade-relations between Turkey and the Netherlands. The city of Amsterdam docked a 19th century clipper at Istanbul harbor for seminars, lectures and fashion shows are conducted. In the slipstream of the biennial the mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard van der Laan and the mayor Rotterdam Ahmed Aboutaleb signed treaties to intensify Dutch-Turkish collaboration in the field of fashion, design and architecture.

Main image: Salon/ Istanbul poster
Other images: 1. Marga Weimans Photo: JW Kaldenbach 2.Viviane Sassen/ Martine Stig 3. Bas Kosters, Antoine Peters, Osaira Muyale & Darkie Photo: Marij Elisabeth Rynja 4. Making City via IABR 5. Adhocracy via IDB

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