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