SALT research was envisioned as a public tool and a vehicle to research, exchange, engage and create content. The unique atmosphere of the historic building and the space of the avlu [lit. courtyard] was something to behold. Our design approach encompassed these qualities to create a whole with distinct parts – parts that could change, be added or allowed to fade out, but as a whole carried a presence of ‘being there’.
Material and formal design choices were based both on the eclectic 19th century architectural style of the building, and on contemporary materials and formal expressions created by sampling the experiential qualities of Istanbul (sound, light, textures).
The spatial organization emphasizes a ‘socially engaging’ atmosphere corresponding to the diversity of potential users and visitors. We created a field of stacks and then carved out eight settings, each different alternatives for engagement. Finally, the essentials of the institution’s unique collection and services had to be ‘put-on-show’, and were arranged to define a new, porous edge to the avlu: the rare book case, the artist archive, the front desk and search stations.
Our design narratives are most clearly articulated in 3 design objects: The poofpuf (sound and texture), cinema4two (light and aperture) and artist archive (geometric construction and scale).
The seating was selected to recount a craft-tradition developed by a pioneering designer from Istanbul from the 1950’s onward. The upholstery was custom created for these specific seats. A view ‘from above’ photos, via the Galata oval window of Perşembe Pazarı and the historic peninsula provides a connection back to the city. The rooftops of near and far were sampled from the photographs and transformed into patterns - hoping it will bring us more stories, and that many new creative minds will contribute to the experience of the space in the future.