Introducing designME!: A debut Exhibition of Middle Eastern Design at New York Design Week
Presented by the NY-based design collective Studio M+, “designME!” is a debut exhibition of contemporary design items from Middle East at the Wanted Design international fair. Participating designers are selected through a curatorial process and include Lebanese furniture designer Nada Debs, Persian designers Nina Seirafi and Mir Mola Soraya, and Turkish designers Erdem Akan, Ilanit Ovadya, Yasemin Sayinsoy & Gamze Araz Eskinazi of Camekan, and Erin Turkoglu & Melodi Bozkurt of Muzz Design.
· A debut exhibition of design items from Middle East at Wanted Design, a pro bono event by Studio M+
· Exhibition showcases new and exciting work from 9 designers in three countries including Iran, Lebanon, and Turkey
· Participating designers include Nada Debs (through Mondo Collection), Nina Seirafi, Mir Mola Soraya Erdem Akan, Ilanit Ovadya, Yasemin Sayinsoy & Gamze Araz Eskinazi of CAMEKAN, and Erin Turkoglu & Melodi Bozkurt of Muzz Design Studio
· Selections are made by co-curators Sara Bengur and Roya Heidari
· Exhibition held on May 16-19 at Terminal Stores in conjunction with NYCxDesign
· Exhibition sponsorship by Turkish Airlines, Turkish Culture and Tourism Office in New York, The Guide Istanbul, Antique Garage Restaurant, Guinea Pig Group Services, 3030 / Karaca Murat Erdem, and Muzz Design Studio (booth design). Additional support by Republic of Turkey Ministry of Economy, Ozlem Yalim Ozkaraoglu/Ozlem Yalim Etc., Cornucopia Magazine, Mondo Collection, and J’Adore Andy Photography.
Studio M+ presents designME! - a group exhibition of contemporary objects from Lebanon, Iran, and Turkey at the Wanted Design international fair to be held on May 16-19, 2014 at Terminal Stores located on 11th Avenue between 27th and 28th street, in conjunction with NYCxDesign, New York’s official citywide design festival. designME!follows on the success of its 2013 edition focused solely on Turkey and features some of the region’s most talented designers in custom furniture, home accessories, and carpeting including Nada Debs of Lebanese origin, Nina Seirafi and Mir Mola Soraya from Iran, and Erdem Akan, Ilanit Ovadya, as well as CAMEKAN and Muzz Design collectives from Turkey.
Co-curated by design experts Sara Bengur and Roya Heidari, the show provides an opportunity to showcase exceptional talent, support cutting edge design trends from Middle East, and promote cross-cultural dialogue. With their inspirational multi-cultural background, curators Bengur and Heidari have creatively combined Eastern and Western elements, working different colors and styles into a surprising and unique balance. Their talented and artistic eyes showed through in the way they blended the audacious colors and patterns of Middle East with modern and sleek Western design aesthetics, thereby shaking up some established conventions about Middle Eastern design and decorations.
The exhibition is organized for free by Studio M+, a New York-based boutique design collective to give designers from other countries an opportunity to showcase their talent and interact with the global design community; support generously provided by Turkish Airlines, Turkish Culture and Tourism Office in New York, The Guide Istanbul, Antique Garage Restaurant, Guinea Pig Group Services, 3030 / Karaca Murat Erdem, and Muzz Design Studio with additional support by Republic of Turkey Ministry of Economy, Ozlem Yalim Ozkaraoglu/Ozlem Yalim Etc., Cornucopia Magazine, Mondo Collection, and J’Adore Andy Photography.
Dee Kayalar, the event’s organizer, said she decided to get involved because every year the fair grows and increases followers, “We were very pleased with the turn-out last year, and are excited to come back to bring designers from Iran, Lebanon, and Turkey together for the first time in this widely acclaimed event that has become one of New York’s premier design shows. Our sincere thanks are due to our curators, Roya and Sara, sponsors, supporters, and volunteers whose outstanding support made this pro bono initiative by Studio M+ possible.”
“Studio M+ designME! event is a terrific example of how design can bridge the cultural gaps sometimes more effectively than other mediums! It is really a unique opportunity to show the world the creative expression that is currently coming from the Middle East.
As curator of the event I focused on finding designers from Turkey who I felt were reinterpreting traditional objects in a fresh and contemporary way. IIanit Ovadya’s crystal backgammon board is a wonderful example of this. Camekan’s Love Cups celebrate the history of glassmaking in Turkey but with whimsy and originality and Erdem Akan shows the edgier contemporary design at play in an ever evolving country.” – Sara Bengur, Founder of Sara Bengur Interiors
"In curating the designME! exhibit, I wanted to represent both established and emerging design talents. Some live in their own country of origin like Nada and Mir Mola, and others like Nina have chosen to live overseas. In choosing the items, my concern was to pick items that looked harmonious together in the booth, but varied in style material and function. I also wanted to make sure these objects represent the Middle East of the 21 century while being inspired by our root, culture and the color of our land!” –Roya Heidari, Freelance Consultant
“I'm very excited to be part of this collective as I am proud to be able to showcase, along with the other exhibitors of designME, what is holding fort from the region. Coming from a culture of many many years of history, the inspirations have a lot more meaning than what is on the surface. As we evolve and get exposed to the world, the designs are merging with different cultural influences. I'm a big believer of fusing different cultural aesthetics to come up with new ways of looking at things and hence, new products. Our culture has a very strong emotional element…and reflecting in design is what we do!” – Nada Debs, Participating Designer
Designer Erdem Akan’s Half Circle made of coated steel is designed for a perfect match against flat surfaces. Winner of Elle Décor’s ‘Designer of the Year Turkey’ award, Akan delivers high concept interiors and collections for his clients through e*rdemakan—a design and manufacturing brand of accessories and furniture.
Design collective Camekan Glassworks consisting of Yasemin Sayinsoy and Gamze Araz Eskinazi has created Love Cups – a colorful collection made of unique hand blown glass. Based in Istanbul, the duo draws their inspiration from their backgrounds in mosaics, interior architecture and environmental design.
A well-established name in modern Middle East furniture, Nada Debs’ modular Pebble Table offered through Mondo Collection is both functional and flexible. Inspired by pebbles on the beach, the table is available in Lacquer, Stainless Steel, Chrome, Brass, or Mother-Of-Pearl table top and Stainless Steel or Brass Legs. A truly international person of talent, Nada was born in Lebanon, brought up in Japan, studied at the Rhode Island School of Design in U.S. and started her career in the UK. Her design firm East & East creates modern designs for Middle East furniture that appeals to a global market.
Also included in the line-up are Nada Debs’ Resin Coasters made from clear or transparent-colored resin with hand-inlayed designs in brushed brass, brushed silver metal, or mother of pearl. The design concept is a celebration of Eastern craftsmanship through contemporary design, using both Arab heritage and the Western modernity influence. Each set of 6 coasters comes with a metal holder. Available through Mondo Collection.
Cobalt Blue Series by Muzz Design Studio is a series of classical Victorian tea set and tableware re-imagined with a modern process where the bisque fired object is dipped into different solutions of cobalt chloride. Every shade of blue merging together in the vessels symbolize the cross pollination of cultures. The collection features a tea set with bowls, plates, and vases. The Istanbul-based Muzz Design Studio is designers Erin Turkoglu and Melodi Bozkurt whose creative union was nurtured during their studies, with a common curiosity for exploring the boundaries of human-object relationships.
Ilanit Ovadya’s ISTAVLA puts a modern face on one of the oldest board games known as backgammon. The board and checker pieces are made of crystal and the dice are acrylic. Born in Istanbul, Ilanit Ovadya is a graduate of Parsons the New School for Design with a BFA degree in product design. Living and working in New York and Istanbul, her works range from product and furniture to graphic and web design.
One of Architectural Digest’s 100 top interior designers, Iranian-born Nina Seirafi’s 3-legged pouf made of black lacquer legs and turquoise chenille, is a carefully designed piece that despite its small proportions provides the comfort of a regular chair with ample back support. Based in New York and a graduate of Parsons School of Design, Nina Seirafi has designed a successful array of gallery, museum, residential, and commercial spaces.
Hichmago Rug by Mir Mola Soraya made of kilim and wool was inspired by the Sufi mystical tradition where the letter H divulges the mystery of God. One of Iran’s leading carpet designers, Iranian born Mir Mola Soraya draws his inspiration from poetry, arts, and religion, and over the years has developed an extensive portfolio as a calligraphist, designer, and researcher in fields of Woven artifacts.
About Studio M+
Studio M+ is a New York-based boutique design collective founded in 2010 by urban designer and Pratt Institute faculty Alihan Polat. The firm provides innovative designs for buildings, urban plans, and product and corporate marketing. In 2014, the firm’s mission expanded to include professional event management services for creative projects being provided by Dee Kayalar, who also serves as PR Director for Raison Pure NYC.
Presented by the NY-based design collective Studio M+, “designME!” is a debut exhibition of contemporary design items from Middle East at the Wanted Design international fair. Participating designers are selected through a curatorial process and include Lebanese furniture designer Nada Debs, Persian designers Nina Seirafi and Mir Mola Soraya, and Turkish designers Erdem Akan, Ilanit Ovadya, Yasemin Sayinsoy & Gamze Araz Eskinazi of Camekan Glassworks, and Erin Turkoglu & Melodi Bozkurt of Muzz Design Studio. Co-curated by design experts Sara Bengur and Roya Heidari, the show provides an opportunity to showcase exceptional talent, support cutting edge design trends from Middle East, and promote cross-cultural dialogue.
About the Program
Running concurrently with International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), Wanted Design will be held from May 16-19, 2014 at the landmark Terminal Stores Building on 11th Ave. between 27th and 28th Streets.
Friday, May 16 (by invitation only)
Press preview starting 2pm
7–10pm, Opening night party
Saturday/Sunday, May 17/18
10am–7pm – Open to trade and public
Monday, May 19
10am–7pm – Trade only
Tickets: $25 at the door.
Advance tickets $20 online
Trade registration: http://www.wanteddesignnyc.com/wanteddesign-2014/attend/
Tickets include all access for duration of the show.
About Wanted Design
WantedDesign is a premier creative destination for the international design community during NYCxDESIGN in May. Building on the success of its groundbreaking debut in 2011, amazing programming and attendance in 2012 and 2013 (with more than 9,000 attendees last May), and various programming during the year to nurture NYC’s design dialogue, WantedDesign will continue to set the standard for international design curation with its fourth edition. The event will offer a 360-degree experience with innovative installations, memorable products, a pop-up store, interactive experiences, convivial lounges, thought-provoking student workshops, engaging discourse and more.
About the Curators
Sara Bengur is the founder of Sara Bengur Interiors, a New York-based design firm, which focuses on residential and retail spaces and enjoys a reputation for eclectic and cosmopolitan spaces that reflect the international background of its founder. Just recently, the company launched its first-ever product collection featuring tableware, linens, and more. Bengur, a strong believer that good design can also achieve social good, was the catalyst that led to the design industry backed furnishing of Woodycrest House in the Bronx, which is home to women with HIV/AIDS. She was also a key figure in the creation of the Marcello Manor, which provides homes for low-income domestic violence survivors. Bengur is a founding member of desigNYC- a design and social-good driven New York City non-profit.
Roya Heidari works as a consultant for Kreëmart and Gallery R’Pure. A well networked executive in fashion, Roya has served as VP of sales and marketing for Yves Saint Laurent and VP of Merchandising for Lord and Taylor. Previously the Chair of Development Committee of The Lycée Français de New York, Roya is actively involved on the Board of Art in General and Mission Restore, and on the Acquisition Committee of Asia Society. With a stellar career delivering high profitable charitable events, buying programs, business development initiatives, and marketing plans, Roya is chairing the 2014 Spring Gala for Art in General, and launching an exhibition for young Iranian artists during Asia Week New York in September.
About Sponsors & Supporters
Sponsors of the event include Turkish Airlines, Turkish Tourism and Culture Office in New York, The Guide Istanbul, Antique Garage Restaurant, Guinea Pig Group Services, 3030 / Karaca Murat Erdem, and Muzz Design Studio. Additional support by Republic of Turkey Ministry of Economy, Ozlem Yalim Ozkaraoglu/Ozlem Yalim Etc., Cornucopia Magazine, Mondo Collection, and J’Adore Andy Photography.
A Special Thanks to:
Reina Arakji, Parsons The New School | Deniz Ayaz, Brooklyn Arts Council | Ihsan Baytan, Turkish Airlines | Sara Bengur, Sara Bengur Interiors | Andy Chang, J’Adore Andy Photography | Utku Cinel, Antique Garage Restaurant | Ashley Clark, New York International | Mario Elcid, Mondo Collection | Karaca Murat Erdem, 3030 Consulting | Mahnaz Fancy, ArteEast | Roya Heidari, Freelance Design & Art Consultant | Serhan Kara, Office of the Commercial Attaché in NY | Can Karanis, Guinea Pig Group Services | Victoria Khroundina, Cornucopia Magazine | Joe Manok, American University of Beirut | Fatos Ozsoy, Turkish Tourism and Culture Office | Ozlem Yalim Ozkaraoglu, Ozlem Yalim Etc. | Majdi Ramadan, Consul General of Lebanon in NY | Erin Turkoglu & Melodi Bozkurt, Muzz Design Studio | Nurdan Yuzbasioglu, Posta 212 New York | Julie Witford, Cornucopia Magazine
Bruce Burnside, Selim Ercan, Funda Esen, Berk Ilhan, Gizem Ozturk, Albin Lohr-Jones, Michelle McCloskey, Nergis Senturk, and Morgan Smith