Istanbulites will enjoy a series of extensive activities on design as the second edition of the İstanbul Design Biennial starts on Saturday, kicking off a six-week period of exhibitions, panel discussions, workshops and film screenings.
Set to continue until Dec. 14, the biennial is held free of charge under the theme of “The Future Is Not What It Used to Be,” presenting more than 50 projects, according to a press release from the organizers, the İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV).
The 2014 biennial was introduced to press members at a conference on Thursday at the Galata Greek Primary School, which will be home to 53 projects and workshops, film screenings and other events as one of the main venues of the biennial.
Biennial curator Zoë Ryan from the UK pointed out during the conference that the second biennial focuses on the issues that affect daily life in Turkey and aims to contribute to the rich dialogues currently present in the country with projects from around the world. Ryan added that the biennial is conceptualized as an initiative to stimulate discussions on different topics.
The biennial projects try to explore answers to the question of “What is the future, right now?” The Galata school, for instance, hosts projects that use innovative approaches in daily life while considering the future as part of an exhibition extending over an area of 2,300 square meters. More than 200 designers from over 20 countries, including China, France, Mexico and Turkey are taking part in the exhibition.
The exhibition at the school is divided into five sections — personal, norms and standards, resources, civic relations and broadcast — according to the content of the featured works. In addition, there is another section on the display where the curators investigate the history of a series of design exhibitions held from 1956 to 2007, a joint project organized with researcher Maggie Taft.
The participants of the biennial exhibition at the Galata school include Studio Frith & Thirteen Ways, Dice Kayek, Haelo Design, Koz Susani Design, FormaFantasma, Åbäke and Something & Son.
Antrepo 7, one of the old custom warehouses in Karakoy, is another of the biennial’s venues and hosts an exhibition as part of an academic program, which features 72 innovative projects in collaboration with 33 academic institutions from İstanbul, İzmir, Ankara and other cities of Turkey as well as America and Europe. Antrepo 7 is open to the public for the first time during the biennial. The projects presented at the academy exhibition will also be awarded and digitized.
The biennial will celebrate the 600th year of diplomatic relations between Poland and Turkey in an exhibition titled “Polska in Between.” The organizers joined hands with Poland’s Adam Mickiewicz Institute, which operates the bilingual Polish-English portal http://www.culture.pl, for the exhibition and other events to mark the occasion.
The 2014 biennial offers visits to design studios, stores and ateliers across İstanbul with its Design Walks program, which consists of 12 routes, including different visiting spots in Kuzguncuk, Çemberlitaş, Sultanahmet and Beyoğlu, and thematic walks that explore the unique textures of İstanbul’s unique neighborhoods.
Five locations across İstanbul’s Kadıköy district are decorated with street furniture made out of recyclable materials as part of the biennial thanks to a joint project between the organizers and Design Atelier Kadıköy (TAK) and 72-Hour Urban Action.
Children and teenagers will take part in a program at the Galata school where they will question the role of design in having a sustainable future during the biennial, and take part in admission-free workshops. School children will meet with professional designers and architects and will get to visit the biennial exhibitions with guides.