Cigdem is another familiar face rejoining the T&T team in our Interior Design department. We're thrilled to have her back! As per (recent) tradition, we asked a few questions and got a few answers in return.
Joining the design industry is a direct result of my upbringing and wanting to continue the legacy my family started before me. There's nothing else I'd rather do.
You're originally from Turkey! What brought you to the states?
Cigdem: Coming stateside allowed me to study English and Interior Design at a variety of exceptional universities, and the University of North Texas was ultimately my university of choice! I eventually graduated from UNT's College of Visual Arts and Design.
After my studies and initial employment at Thiel & Thiel, I returned to the US for the opportunity to work again with the WONDERFUL people at T&T. This was one of my first career experiences in the field, which couldn't have been more fulfilling. I couldn't help but come back!
How would you describe your design philosophy?
I believe design finds its peak effectiveness through unique expression, which is more of a result from gut instinct than a repetitive process. In this way, different designs are formed through experimentation to create some unexpected results, and perhaps a few surprises. But above all else, aesthetics and function need to be in harmony with one another.
Has design always been a passion? What motivated you to join this industry?
Design has always been a passion of mine, mainly due to my family. My father has a construction background, and so does my grandfather. As a result, I've been around the architecture and construction sector since my childhood; I was essentially born into this environment. Even as a young child, I loved to draw and immerse myself in various artforms ... it came so naturally to me.
Joining the design industry is a direct result of my upbringing and wanting to continue the legacy my family started before me. There's nothing else I'd rather do!
Originally being from a country that is home to many different cultures has given me the chance to see how those cultures interact and coexist in the same environment. Istanbul is a great example of this – it's an incredible place to experience, especially as a designer.
Are there any current design trends you include in your work?
Biophilic Design (“connection to nature”) is one of the more interesting concepts I try to utilize in my work. It emphasizes an authentic connection with nature as we occupy and use spaces.
There are obvious benefits to this approach, from both sustainability and usability perspectives, but it speaks pointedly to the state of the human condition. We have an intrinsic, internal desire in our souls to interact with our natural surroundings. The way we design those surroundings can only benefit from inviting the outside in (and vice versa).
Being from Istanbul, you have a unique background and perspective on design from your travels. Are there any Turkish or Mediterranean design elements that you would find intriguing to implement into certain projects?
Originally being from a country that is home to many different cultures has given me the chance to see how those cultures interact and coexist in the same environment. Istanbul is a great example of this, having a very long history of different cultures cohabitating in a congested city, all with largely differing aesthetics that compete for relevance and attention. It's an incredible place to experience, especially as a designer.
I love to implement Turkish handmade motifs in my designs when possible. I love the feeling of merging these cultural values from both east and west.
What inspires you?
Traveling and photography are other passions of mine, and I can't help but feel inspired from those creative outlets. But music is my trusty artistic muse on a daily basis; whenever there is music, I find inspiration no matter what.
Say hello: firstname.lastname@example.org
Images + Words: Cigdem Eksi, Stephen Selzler