LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Fulden Topaloglu ("FT") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

FT : Actually I have a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Bogazici University. Yet I always had a great interest in art and design and practiced photography, sculpture and drawing especially during my undergraduate years. At one point I realized that my heart beats so much stronger for the opportunity to combine my artistic capabilities with my engineering education and that’s when I decided to study industrial design, as it suggested a really nice blend of both worlds. So I carried out my masters and doctorate education in industrial design.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

FT : I love creating, producing something new, be it a photograph, a sculpture or a functional piece of design. During my undergraduate years, I started to realize that being inside a process of creativity gives me more joy and purpose in life. So I decided to follow this calling and after I completed my bachelors degree in engineering I decided to become a designer and studied industrial design.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

FT : Throughout my professional life I had the chance to carry out a wide range of design projects for companies from different industrial sectors, like furniture, accessories, home textiles, packaging, jewelry, food, houseware, textiles. And one of the things I love about my profession is this diversity, diversity in projects, diversity in needs, diversity in approaches… And I love designing different works: furniture, textiles, home accessories, packaging… I believe this variety and the mere act of moving between different projects and mediums keeps a designer more fresh, creative and motivated. I would definitely love to design more home accessories and would love to design lighting.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

FT : I believe in order to evolve into a good designer they should be really hardworking, curious, and persistent when it comes to realizing their creations, projects and visions. I believe these are more differentiating factors than creativity, because although it may be in different degrees, all of us have creativity inside of us and with the right tools and processes creativity can be unlocked. So hard work, the curiosity to fuel continual learning and persistence are the three critical ingredients that will turn them into good designers.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

FT : I see all man-made things as acts of communication. That’s why I think a design is good if it can make a strong connection with the people it is intended for, if it can make an honest, functional and authentic communication, if it can arouse the feelings of well-being, joy and inspiration while functioning smoothly.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

FT : Our current social mentalities are more inclined to evaluate and emphasize the value of good design through its economic value. Although this is highly critical, I believe we should first remember to see the value of good design in terms of its contribution to well-being. Good design has the power to make life easier, meaningful, smooth, engaging, joyful, both functionally and emotionally. Our relationship with objects, spaces, systems shape and define our capabilities, our thought structures, our feelings. And design is our tool to shape, re-define and enhance the totality of this man made world. When we look from this point, we should definitely invest in good design as good design honors and empowers life.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

FT : I have this dream project of realizing a completely organic and environmental packaging line. I hope I get the chance to realize it one day with a passionate team.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

FT : I do not believe in one secret ingredient. Success results from a delicate combination/balance of many factors. I would say these are for me curiosity, passion, hard work and persistence.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

FT : Hans Wagner, Paul Kjaerholm, Isamu Noguchi... There are so many, yet when I hear the word design masters these are the first names that come to my mind without any hesitation.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

FT : The wishbone chair by Hans Wagner, Masculo chair by Gam Fratesi, Kartio Pitcher by Kaj Frank, 25 Lamp by Kovac Family and Nordic Light candleholder by Jonas Grundell are some of my favorite designs. They all share a functional elegance and simplicity that is strong yet poetic.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

FT : I can’t pick a favorite but looking back I can say that with some of my designs I have a different and stronger relationship. Sama stool from my Sama furniture collection, my Ege kilim series and Mardin necklace are 3 of those. Sama and Mardin take their inspiration from cultural heritage yet I think they both manage to translate this cultural context into a totally new and contemporary expression. Whereas Ege kilim series is a tribute to my love for the Aegean & Mediterranean sea and geography; where I took my admiration for the visual and emotional expressiveness of the sea surface and turned it into a kilim rug series that aim to bring the aura of the sea into the interior space.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

FT : If I hadn't become a designer I would have become a sculptor.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

FT : Design is this wonderful tool we have in order to shape and curate our life experiences, from the tiniest apparatus to the larger systems. If we use this tool with care, focusing on empowerment, well-being and inspiration, it turns into a powerful tool to enhance our humanity.

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

FULDEN TOPALOGLU IS AN ENGINEER TURNED DESIGNER WHO HAS WORKED AS A DESIGNER AND DESIGN MANAGER FOR RENOWNED BRANDS IN THE TURKISH MARKET, CARRYING OUT PROJECTS FOR COMPANIES FROM DIFFERENT INDUSTRIAL SECTORS, LIKE FURNITURE, ACCESSORIES, HOME TEXTILES, PACKAGING, JEWELRY, FOOD AND HOUSEWARE. IN 2018, SHE ESTABLISHED HER DESIGN STUDIO, NAMED STUDIO KALI, WHERE SHE CHANNELS HER PASSION AND EXPERIENCE TOWARDS PROVIDING DESIGN SERVICES, AS WELL AS BUILDING A MEANINGFUL AND INSPIRATIONAL BRAND FOR LIVING SPACES WITH STUDIO KALI’S PRODUCT COLLECTION. FULDEN’S WORK CROSSES A BROAD SPECTRUM OF DESIGN DISCIPLINES AND MEDIUMS, MERGING IDEAS AND TECHNIQUES FROM CRAFT, ART AND CULTURE TO REIMAGINE AND SHAPE INSPIRING PRODUCTS, OBJECTS AND EXPERIENCES. IN STUDIO KALI’S PRODUCT COLLECTION, SHE SPECIFICALLY FOCUSES ON PRODUCTS THAT ARE AT THE INTERSECTION OF CRAFT PRODUCTION AND MODERN DESIGN. THROUGH THIS DELIBERATE CHOICE, STUDIO KALI AIMS TO SUPPORT CRAFTSMANSHIP, CULTURAL HERITAGE AND LOCAL INDUSTRY, WHILE USING DESIGN AS A BRIDGE BETWEEN THE TRADITIONS OF THE PAST AND THE MODERN AESTHETICS OF THE PRESENT.


Sama Furniture Series

Sama Furniture Series by Fulden Topaloglu

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