Following an invitation by the UNESCO City of Design Istanbul Karl Stocker, Eberhard Schrempf and Sigrid Bürstmayr were part of the Istanbul Design Summit in March 2019. It was a huge summit with about 3000 people attending, about 50 international speakers, 31 Cities of Design representatives, creative cities network and design professionals who met on the first and second day of March. The program for this congress was developed in cooperation with the head of Creative Industries Styria, Eberhard Schrempf.

Sigrid Bürstmayr held a lecture in the panel “Sustainable Design” and Karl Stocker chaired a panel called “Better Design Better Life”. In Sigrids panel, which was moderated by Prof. Dr. Burçin Cem Arabacıoğlu, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University – Professor of Interior Architecture, sustainability was discussed as becoming a greater concern nowadays because of the limited ressources on this planet. Design should be eliminating negative impacts on the environment through sensitiveness and skillfulness. The aim of the session was to increase the awareness for this and how to establish the necessary changes.

Karl Stocker chaired a panel called “Better Design Better Life”. The participants in his panel, Celaleddin Çelik, NUN Architecture Design – Architect; Ece Yalım, Industrial & Interior Designer; Kristoph Nowak, UNStudio – Senior Architect and Associate and Tom Demajo, Game Designer & Artist held talks and discussed how design is a perfect way to make things better for us humans by creating well designed objects, products and processes. The focus in this session was on what kind of standards designers should consider when designing for the better.

Two very famous keynote speakers attended the congress too and were giving lectures: on the first day Karim Rashid, product designer, and on the second day Stefan Sagmeister.

Sigrid Bürstmayr and Karl Stocker are currently working on a book that will be edited in cooperation with the “Istanbul Design Office Bureau” (ist das korrekt?) about sustainable design in the UNESCO Design Cities, with a special focus on Istanbul. During their time in Istanbul, they organised a meeting with four of the turkish authors writing for this book, who have diverse backgrounds ranging from architecture to graphic design. The next meeting with the authors will be on May 17th, this time in Graz.

Istanbul is a member of the UNESCO Design Cities network since 2017, which currently consists of 31 cities around the world. This network as well as our institute´s partnership with the Özyegin University offer great opportunities for staff as well as students to cooperate with these international partners. The fascinating cultural mix in the city of Istanbul is very impressive, the tension and excitement which arises from embracing the contrasts between the cultures and the historical background on the one hand and brand new buildings as well as internationalisation on the other creates an atmosphere of excitement that you can feel in every corner of this fast-paced city.

Text: Stefanie Egger; Photography: Sigrid Bürstmayr, Karl Stocker, Eberhard Schrempf, Istanbul Design Summit