An interview with Zekiye Kocarslan
Gulnaz Can interviews Zekiye Kocarslan :
GC: “Simplicity” and “spontaneousness” seem to be two main keywords in order to define your designs. Were these senses your starting point, or did your designs lead the audience to these conceptions?
ZK: When I design, I don’t move from a starting point since I don’t contemplate so much. Ideas just come to me and I give a shape to them. I believe simplicity is the right way to reach our essence and that is what it should be. In design and in life generally as well… Just be yourself, and then you’ll see that everything goes smoothly.
GC: How would you define İstanbul? What sort of a city do you think it is?
ZK: Istanbul is not only the city that I was born in, it is the city that I chose to live. It is like a secret corner that we can construct our own simple life whereas it provides constant rush which keeps you strong and springs some kind of energy. It also allows anyone to live their own lives among crowd and contrast where these lives cross each other. It is like a video game with setting sometimes as Byzantine, Ottoman or any postmodern style!
GC: Does the rich heritage of İstanbul effect you as a designer? Is the contemporary Istanbul more powerful as an inspiration than the historical surface of it, do you think?
ZK: Istanbul, the city where I live is my present. But when I decide to see my past, I go to the old city. Here is like a time tunnel, and this is a big luck. Therefore, my designs aren’t inspired by one era, they are like timeless. You can read artdeco and postmodern as well from them. Some people ask whether only one person designs my products, and I think this is the reason of this confusion.
GC: As an example, birds, ships and cats are symbols of Istanbul and main characters of your designs. Have you recieved your inspiration from the cats of Istanbul?
ZK: I like to interpret and stylise some well-known forms. The pigeon is my favourite figure. It looks childish and innocent because of its slow moves and plump figure. They are like not flying but just walking around on the streets of Istanbul, touring the city slowly and sneakily collecting information. I sometimes imagine a pigeon that I see in Sultanahmet, actually goes window shopping in Nisantasi.
Cats are on the other hand very well-known figures as they figuratively rule Istanbul, so they have to be in my collection as well. It would be perfect if Istanbul hosted owls too. Well, maybe it does and we just don’t know it yet.
GC: What do you think about London? And being exhibited in this city?
ZK: I believe London is a city with a very genuine taste of design. You can see that by looking at its people. Fashion of London is like a contemporary display of very rich tradition and culture. I am very excited and lucky to be a part of an organisation whereby I can tell about myself to this city and its conscious people.
GC: Let’s talk about INN London… What do you think about this event, and which Zeckie products are you going to introduce in the fair?
ZK: Inn London is a very lovely platform which is going to promote Turkish design to the UK. There will be a complication as summarising all works of mine, but I plan to deal with that problem with the help of my stylised animals and my artdeco gold collection. In addition, my geometrical laceworks, triangles and daisies as a part of my new collection will be there with me.
GC: Thank you very much Zekiye!