atlas Harran is a design collection translating Mesopotamian knowledge, culture and aesthetics to today’s world in a product and textile collection through handmade production by women in Harran.
Harran is a district in southeastern Turkey, close to the Syrian border. The area has an ancient history, and Harran has been the gateway of many civilizations during more than 5000 years.Greek, Roman, Assyrian and Babel societies have left traces, ruins, patterns, know-how and knowledge through different ages.
atlas design collection is curated by Bilgen Coşkun and Dilek Öztürk, founders of IN-BETWEEN Design Platform, designed by Aslı Smith, Barış Gün, Begüm Cana Özgür, DAY Studio, INCOMPLIT and Şule Koç who are based in Istanbul, Turkey. The project is managed by Ömer Faruk Çelik, District Governor of Harran, and realized with ADEM (Family Support Centre) within the Governorship of Harran, dedicated to support women empowerment and encouraging women to take an active role in the social life and thus creating a social change.
In collaboration with the Swedish Institute, a selection of the atlas Harran design collection and it´s unique research based story will be showcased at the Swedish Institute on February 8 during Stockholm Design Week 2019, as part of the 25 Hours Design program. .
During the evening, the program will highlight the social impact of crafts and design which will be presented through a multicultural exchange. The program will include Ömer Faruk Çelk, District Governor of Harran, curators Bilgen Coskun and Dilek Ozturk, designers Begüm Cana Özgür, Rebecca Ahlstedt and Erica Jacobson, Suzi Ersahin, former cultural counselor to Sweden in Istanbul, James Taylor Foster, curator at ArkDes.
Process of the collection
atlas design collection is developed with a democratic approach bringing a diverse group of professionals together to open discussions and set the project framework collectively. This is why a commission was put together including academics and other professionals from design, archaeology and creative entrepreneurship; Ömer Faruk Çelik, District Governor of Harran, Asst.Prof. Veli Şafak Uysal, Vice Dean of Istanbul Bilgi University Faculty of Architecture and Archeologist Prof.Dr. Mehmet Önal.
In the scope of the project, six designers were selected by the curators; Aslı Smith, Barış Gün, Begüm Cana Özgür, Doğanberk Erdemir and Yeşim Eröktem of DAY Studio, Şule Koç and Öykü Özgencil of Incomplit. The curatorial and designer team worked on the project between September 2017 and September 2018, starting with the site visits and research in Harran. The curators went through a research process and defined the design values, design criteria and production methods. Following this, the process was evolved with the designers; design and production follow ups, meetings, juries and presentations.
The methodology is based on generating a know-how to translate the historical and cultural references to a contemporary design language addressing the ways of urban living styles of our times.
Concept of the collection
The standing point of atlas collection is based on taking unique references from the sophisticated culture, aesthetic and knowledge of Mesopotamia through ages.
The collection is translated into a product line, which can be integrated to a contemporary living concept. The collection aims to create a dialogue between the global design scene and a region rich in design references.
Social aspect of the collection
The social responsibility aspect of the project was built on a model supporting the local and refugee women living in Harran to create their economic independence. This is realized by women being at the core of the production process in the workshops built in Harran under the roof of ADEM (Family Support Centre). These women will make their living by being involved in the sales revenues. In order to make this sustainable, one of the main criteria in developing this project was that the whole collection should be able to produced in these particular workshops.
Aslı Smith, Heliotropic Studio https://www.heliotropicstudio.com
Aslı Smith designed a collection of felt rug and wall hangings inspired by pagan symbols and patterns of Mesopotamian culture in Harran. The Stars and Fortune Rug tells of the might of the celestial gods in Mesopotamian paganism and their interaction with earth. The Moon and Wisdom Rug, inspired by the Moon God Sin, symbolizes birth, rebirth and infinite wisdom. The Sun and Prosperity Rug is about the all-powerful and creative celestial god the Sun and his cosmic prosperity.
The three-piece three dimensional felt wall hangings Terra, Strata and Astra take references from Mesopotamian astral and architectural symbols and cues from colors and textures of Harran.
Barış Gün, barbo//work+shop http://barboworkshop.com
Barış Gün designed a serving set titled as ‘H-Cut’ which is inspired by the multi-layered geography and culture of Harran. H-Cut is taking its reference from the archeological richness of Harran. The reason why Barış Gün chose wood as a material is that wood needs special protection and care like Harran’s core.
Begüm Cana Özgür http://begumcanaozgur.com
The designer focused on design processes referring to the transformative power of design, in which people from different age groups can work without any special training.
Begüm Cana Özgür designed a room separator titled ad ‘Harmala’ which is composed of felt balls. As a reflection of Pagan culture, people of Harran believe in the power of harmala seeds to clean the energy of places and protect people against negative energy. The felt room separator taking its reference from the stringed harmala seeds, is reinventing this symbol of belief in a room scale. The product assembled with the hand rolled felt balls, was designed with an understanding to involve anyone who is willing to be a part of the production process.
Begüm Cana Özgür also designed a three-piece wall textiles collection inspired by the planetary culture in Harran. The moon god, Sin, is at the top of the Pantheon, with his son Shamash and daughter Venus which were woven handcrafted in wooden frames.
DAY Studio http://day-studio.com
DAY Studio founded by Doğanberk Demir and Yeşim Eröktem, developed an approach taking the scientific and architectural knowledge as well as the ancient artisanal culture of Harran dating back to 8000 years and merging these with the recent production techniques such as 3D modelling and 3D printing.
DAY Studio, designed a set of tableware for the atlas collection which they named as ‘Eclipse’ by taking the work carried out on geometry and astronomy in Harran and the way that these were applied to the field of architecture. Using the phases of a lunar eclipse as foundation, Eclipse makes an attempt to portray the multi-cultural nature of the region through colors.
The second set of products designed by DAY Studio is called ‘Mırra’ which is composed of coffee cups in 3 different sizes and colors. These are taking the architectural form of Kumbet Houses of Harran as reference.
Öykü Özgencil, INCOMPLIT https://incomplit.com
Öykü Özgencil, took astronomy works that the people of Harran carried out, as references for the bag she designed for atlas collection. Today, the people of Harran have very close ties with the land, therefore the bag she designed creates a link between the Earth and the sky. The women in the Harran container town and the ADEM (Family Support Centre) produce the bags together.
Şule Koç is inspired by the multi-layered structure of Harran created by various civilizations settled in the area. Every layer is presented in a different form in her product set; organizer, scent diffusor and serving plate which offers a flexible and playful set ups.
Please visit www.25hdesign.com/ for more info on the program.