An Inspiring Interview with Cemre Sahin
Posted on 08 July 2019
Cemre Sahin is one of those people you would always want by your side. That's why we are so proud to have such a beautiful partnership with her.
And that's also the reason why we made this long and inspiring interview about her and her relationship with Italy, about the future of design and the environment.
Enjoy the reading!
Hello, Cemre! We are so glad to make this interview! Can you tell us something about you and your job?
Hello! It’s a great honor for me to perform this interview, thank you!
About myself, I was born in 1991 in Izmir. However, due to my father's mission, I have lived in 10 different cities so far. 10 different environments, 10 different cultures. When I moved out for the first time, I cried. But then each move has become an exciting adventure. Every new environment was shaped by different cultures and people, and everything was a new discovery for me. I am very happy with my life history, because I think that it positively feeds my character and profession. I don't know what the future will reserve to me, but after all this traveling I decided the city where I want to die in, Aydın. This is the city I live in, love and find myself. Thankfully, my profession gives me the opportunity to perform my architecture-art from here to the world.
Even though changing school once every two years, I’ve always been a hard-working student. Besides school, I’ve got many city and national awards in different fields such as poetry, folklore, chess and table tennis. These acknowledgements helped me to increase my confidence.
I’ve studied Science High School and then Architecture Education in Izmir Yasar University. One year of my architecture education was held in Cagliari University in Sardinia, Italy. After graduating in 2014, I started a Master in Architectural Design at Dokuz Eylül University in Izmir. Moreover, during my academic studies, I founded my own Architecture and Design Studio named Cemre Sahin Architects in Aydın in 2015.
Till now, I projected many architectural and interior designs from residential buildings to office buildings and public services. I love my profession. If I didn’t need to work, I would certainly do architecture anyway, with the dream to improve the environment I live in. Due to my passion, I was the youngest elected as President of the Chamber of Architects in Aydın. In this position, we are trying to make positive contributions to our city, and the architects’ professional life.
We met 7 years ago in Cagliari, while you were in Erasmus. Since then you always felt a strong bound with Italy. Why so? What do you think about Italy and Sardinia?
Actually, I feel a strong bound with Italy since I was a child. That's why I came to Italy by Erasmus. Being a tourist has never been enough for me, and the Erasmus program was a great opportunity to grow professionally abroad. I don't know the reason why I always had this sympathy with Italy: maybe the melody of Italian language, maybe the noble appearance of the Italians, perhaps the charming cities I saw in the pictures... But now, in addition to that, I can clearly see I’ve been fascinated by the strong history of the Roman Empire, and the architecture and design values of Renaissance. Moreover, maybe being both mediterranean cultures makes us similar in hospitality, warmth and entertainment understanding. This makes me feel at home in Italy.
I would like to mention why I chose Sardinia for my Erasmus. Italy has many popular cities such as Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence etc... I visited them several times but I preferred to live in Sardinia by choosing Cagliari University because of its authenticity rather than the most famous cities, crowded of tourists.
Sardinia is an excellent island with its historical and natural beauties, and in Cagliari I found everything I expected for both education and social life (and great beaches more than I expected!). Cagliari didn’t get shaped by tourists that much, luckily, and I could focus on its essence. Moreover all the italians I met, from greengrocers to bus drivers, were incredibly gentle (although my landlord tried to cheat on me, I loved him too!).
Italy has given me architecture and life knowledge. It was a perfect experience. I miss those days. Now I am almost crying..
Let’s finish :D
What about Made in Italy? How is it perceived in Turkey?
Italy has created world-renowned and qualified brands in many areas from food to fashion, from furniture to mechanical engineering. For this reason, the 'Made in Italy' perceived value is very high in Turkey. Being involved in architecture and design, I follow a lot of sites and publications and there are always titles and articles about Italy’s distinctive designs. I always read, admire and then think “they did it again!”
I always feel proud of that, although I’m not Italian. Eeveryone here agrees that Italy is a pioneer in many issues and fields, with a great brand value.
I give you a funny example about this. I bought a jacket at a bazaar in Italy. It is not 'Made in Italy' but it has a different style from Turkish brands. When my friends asked me about the jacket, I told them I bought it in Italy. Everyone thinks it’s an Italian production and I get a lot of admired reactions. This example shows that even the word ‘Italian’ has a fixed upper class value.
And what do you think about environmental sustainability? Is it a strongly perceived problem or do you think a big effort would be necessary to bring a considerable culture change in society?
Sustainability has gained awareness in the last 20-30 years. Up to that point, the key of progress has always been perceived as ‘economic growth’, and globalization, based on rapid growth and increasing resource utilization, has caused too much damage to the environment. From the industrial revolution the changes in the production and consumption system have consumed a lot of natural resources. We realized that this was a serious problem only when the first ecological alarms started to sound. We're on the red line now.
But even though almost everyone is aware about this, most of people don’t have an opposing stance in this consumption frenzy. At this point, we have a lot of responsibilities as designers. It is up to us to make products designed in such a way as to minimize environmental damage, and if possible, to benefit the environment. Today, sustainable design areas have emerged, such as ‘parametric design’ which calculates carbon emission of each material and ‘biomimicry’ which aims to design by nature, not by using nature. These developments are giving hope about the future.
In Turkey we need to create great awareness in society with new discourses and productions. In this sense, I think we require a ‘sustainable’ effort rather than a ‘big effort’ for a considerable cultural change.
What do you think would be necessary to really make a difference for the environment?
I believe in the divinity of ‘detail’. In my opinion, working on the details really makes a big difference for the environment. I think it is necessary to give priority to the ‘quality’ rather than ‘quantity’. It’s not important ‘how much’; the real value is the ‘essence’ that can be found in details. For this reason, I prefer to express this question in a way that is appropriate to the spirit of my expressions; with few words, but with the essence.
How do you see the world after 10 years? And what about your studio?
10 years are a really long time in the modern world. We can’t predict all the future innovations. I believe that artificial intelligence will open a new era in the world of science. On the other hand, I am worried about the idea of artificial intelligence taking control of future productions because qualified architecture and design require an artistic ‘spirit’ as well as technical knowledge. On the other hand, I think that the next technologies should examine consumption forms rather than production forms. Being aware of what we consume is a big step, but a real leap is needed for a sustainable world, and I don't think it will happen in the next 10 years. It will take few decades to change the current global consumption system.
What about my studio? When you are in the service industry, it is your responsibility to answer the employer's demands. Due to current construction policies in Turkey, I'm dealing only with financially oriented employers and the biggest issue is to make their demands meet my quality and environmental standards. It’s a lot of work to change my employer's perspective.
By the way in Turkey, urban design and sustainable architecture are increasing day by day. This gives me hope about the future and let me enjoy my work. I’ve never been much interested in the size of the projects I get: I’m always interested in my values. I draw my path by questioning me “how good I produce” instead of “how much I produce” and this is the beauty of my job.
For example I enjoy to create qualified designs with you! In the next 10 years my perspective will never change and I’m ready for good surprises.
Me and all the rest of Kibelis are very proud to join this partnership with you. It is an honour and a pleasure. We love your work, we love your values and your admirable commitment to the environment. But what do you think about Kibelis? Why did you decide to make a partnership with us?
First of all thank you for these nice compliments, I think the same for you two :)
I find Kibelis' values very valuable. I believe we must be respectful of the environment we live in, and Kibelis shows this respect at 100%. To pursue the ‘natural’ instead of preferring materials that are standardized and easy to reach by industrialization, to ‘produce by nature’ instead of ‘consume the nature’ and giving it back to the nature we just borrow from, are efforts that sanctify the design. Kibelis’ designs express all these values with simplicity and gives a great message through all its gentle details. Both in appearance and with the technological infrastructure ‘Kibelis Talk’.
Over and above, the friendship that started 7 years ago in Italy with the precious creators of Kibelis, continues with the same loyalty in spite of the miles away. I believe is an indication that we have the right synergy. And I think that our joint productions, with the intercultural synergy of our different cultures will add great value for both, and the process will be enjoyable. The common worldview that I carry on with Kibelis and its creators excites me for the partnership we are going to start.
I am happy and proud of this union. :)
Wanna know more about Cemre?
Visit her Website: