Why Bilge Nur Saltik's work traverses disciplines and time
By Purva Chawla
Designer Bilge Nur Saltik’s work seems to traverse not only multiple disciplines in design but the concept of ‘time’ for which a designer’s work is intended.
Nur’s work is simultaneously rooted in the present and highly oriented to the future.
Beyond this dichotomy, Nur's work is also representative of a certain timelessness -in craft, technique, and materials.
Studying Nur’s creations, it is evident that there is a story to each of her works and an intended interaction with human behavior. Her approach to design seeks to represent culture in a contemporary way.
A fascination with the pairing of old and new is also apparent– she works with traditional craftsmen, tapping into age-old techniques and knowledge, but often pairs them with new materials or new practices to get unexpected results. On the other hand, Nur's work often brings ageless, more familiar materials –glass, ceramic, stone, wood, and fabric–to a new life.
These attributes best capture the essence of the London-based, and Turkish-born designer’s work.The year 2016 has seen her participate in and actively steer three diverse design platforms: Electro Craft 2016, Form&Seek’s presence at the London Design Festival this week, and Domotex 2017.
In this, article, we go on to elaborate on Nur’s work at each of these prestigious exhibitions and design platforms, and through them, we tell the narrative of many of her elegant, and beautifully crafted works. Woven in, is our recent conversation with the designer, and co-founder of designers’ collective Form&Seek.
Electro Craft 2016/ Loud Objects
Last week, on September 16th, 2016, Nur's collection of Loud Objects opened to the public at Electro Craft 2016. Her work joins the exhibition of electronic products created by a diverse group of designers, all of whom share a fascination with technology and beautifully made objects.’Loud Objects' responds to the brief set forth by designer Tord Boontje for Electro Craft– bringing craft and electronics together, highlighting the craft of electronics and electronics made as the craft.
At first, the designer says "the realm of electronics–an entirely new industry– seemed daunting to me." Over time, Nur's idea–which was powerful and yet comprehensible–helped bring these two diverse fields together.
The idea behind Loud Objects originated in the consumer electronics found in our homes. When most of these household electronics were first designed several years ago, they were intended to stand out, to appear sleek and alienated from their surroundings. Today that doesn't have to be the case; these electronics can respond to the surroundings of our living spaces, both in design and materiality. "I wanted to create accessories that would become the electronics we need. Suddenly your candleholder or vase becomes a speaker for your music" Nur says.
The Loud Objects collection consists of candle holders, serving plates and vases comprising a bold, graphic composition of marble blocks and wooden plates. In each piece, as the marble blocks touch the wooden plate on either side, it resonates and turns into a speaker.
Nur's design taps into a particular electronic piece that allows the wood and marble to act as conductors of sound and amplify it as speakers do. Each of these pieces works with a rechargeable battery and pairs with a Bluetooth device, like a phone.
Loud Objects shakes up many perceptions and notions of both electronics and accessories. "For example, a vase, that holds water, paradoxically, is also an electronic device," Nur says. On the other hand, music emerges tunefully from a candleholder, making it a dynamic object in a way one could never have imagined.
DOMOTEX 2017 / Young Designer Trendtable
Far from the products and materials that designer Bilge Nur Saltik has worked with previously, lies the Domotex exhibition next– the leading global trade fair for floor coverings.
For DOMOTEX 2017, Nur was asked to join a group of creative thinkers from five countries, brought together by designer Stefan Diez workshop in his Munich studio. As part of the DOMOTEX venture “Young Designer Trendtable,” A multinational lineup of designers, comprising Turkish-born Bilge Nur Saltik, Jane Briggs and Christy Cole (Scotland), Klaas Kuiken (Netherlands), Hanne Willmann (Germany) and Victoria Wilmotte (France) were tasked with developing trendsetting flooring concepts and designs. These concepts will take the trade by storm when they are showcased at DOMOTEX 2017.
Rather than products, the output here will be installations from the five designers, intended to trigger conversation, set trends for the industry and draw in the massive audience of architects and designers at the fair.
For DOMOTEX, Nur’s work will break away from the grid (of carpet tiling), so to speak, and will investigate and experiment with 'joinery' between flooring elements. Despite this project operating in an entirely new industry, Nur's work is sure to get to the heart of the brief and impact yet another new realm of design.
Form&Seek / London Design Festival
In 2013, with fellow designers Golnar Roshan and Ruben de la Rive Box, Bilge Nur Saltik founded Form&Seek–a one-of-a-kind collective of talented international designers. Since its conception, Form&seek has exhibited at prestigious platforms and events such as Milan Design Week (Salon del Mobile), Ventura Lambrate, Istanbul design Week and the London Design Festival. Over 72 designers have now been supported and brought together by the Form&Seek platform. In turn, the diversity and quality of their work have made the Form&Seek platform a rich and irreplaceable one.
In addition to working hard to generate this collective power, many of Nur’s own works have debuted through the Form&Seek platform, and been showcased around the world.
Most notable of these have been Nur’s series of vases called OP-Vase, which can be seen at BOXPARK and the London Design Fair, as part of Form&Seek’s exhibits at the London Design Festival this week. The breathtaking OP-Vase collection is symbolic of an entire genre of Nur’s work employs optical effects and optical illusions in glass products.
With the OP-Vase, Nur creates the illusion of a full bouquet from a single flower. The thick glass pieces are crafted in Istanbul and cut by hand to achieve a kaleidoscopic effect and precise, rounded corners. The OP-Vase collection is the culmination, as well as the continuation of a series of optical explorations by Nur, including OP-jects, the OP-Light and the Blossom light. Nur’s investigations into objects with optical abilities began during her time at the Royal College of Art, with a project whose brief "Minimum/Maximum" invoked the idea of making a camouflage and dissolving in space. Seen above is an image of Nur’s earliest exploration from the OP collection– a slim rod-like acrylic object and the patterns she developed for the OP-rod to morph and transform.
This set of works beautifully represents the ‘timelessness’ aspect of Nur’s work– creating design and using materials in a way that will make them relevant and fascinating for years to come.
Another collection of works that possesses this timeless quality is Nur’s Compromise collection. This series of objects was made by the ceramic throwing technique and includes a series of vessels that have been sliced away at, at an oblique angle. Owing to this, they appear to have contradicting qualities at once: complete and incomplete, finessed and raw.
For the compromise collection, Nur drew inspiration from a common practice for ceramic artists– cutting ceramic vessels in half to check the thickness of their walls. An incredibly talented maker will almost make this cut with pride, exposing an even thickness and thin walls.
Nur makes this practice her own on, making her cuts at odd angles, showing a new kind of angled thickness to these vessels, and a new beauty in incomplete perfection.
This play on age-old techniques and ways of making is signature to Nur's work and draws viewers and users in with their narrative. Pairing old and new also allows much of her work to transcend the limitations of time.
Editors note: It has been our utmost pleasure, at MaterialDriven, working with Bilge Nur Saltik, Golnar Roshan and Ruben de la Rive Box-co-founders of Form&Seek. Their's is a one-of-a-kind collective of talent and support. We admire them and feel vested in their success and happiness!