Autumn is definitely my favourite season to be in Istanbul. The time of year when a series of great art events take place. It looks as though coming September is packed with a range of choices. The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) – the organization behind almost all major art events in the city and the pioneering patrons of art and design – have
prepared a new program for the fifth edition of the Istanbul Design Biennial.

At a time when we probably need it most, this year’s biennial focuses on empathy with the title: “Empathy Revival: Designs for more than one.”

Scheduled to open on September 28th, 2020, the Biennial will reinterpret the kitchen space, an indispensable component of our living area and our lives. For centuries, many designers, architects and artists have studied food, its production and distribution, the act of cooking and dining rituals and came up with a range of ideas. Austrian architect Margarate
Schütte- Lihotzky’s Frankfurt Kitchen from 1926, Anna Puigjaner’s Kitchenless City project, James Shaw’s experimental Plastic Baroque cutlery set are some of the first examples that come to mind. Curated by Mariana Pestana, the Design Biennial will offer a fresh perspective on our experiences with the practices of food production, purchasing, cooking and eating. As the peak of self-indulgence, meal times are possibly when we feel most motivated. Eating is an act of socialising, understanding and being with loved ones. The curating team are yet to finalise the kitchen programme which will be a showcase-café for some and a culinary school for others. The kitchen programme aims to examine the concept of design in the broadest sense with the expectation of creating a platform for participants to perform on their creative ideas.

With a special section on table manners, the programme will also give participants and biennial visitors the opportunity to take part in the journey of food from the field to the plate. The Kitchen programme is inspired by the concept of a laid table which reflects the spirit of sharing, a form of exhibition prepared for the purpose of dining.

The Kitchen programme will continue throughout the Biennial which will be open to the public until November 8th. If you have any interest in the kitchen, do not miss out on IKSV’s open invitation. Applications close on February 28th for participants who will be expected to choose one of the two main topics: preparing an unusual menu or designing an original kitchen utensil. The menus will feature projects which propose different cultural approaches. Participants will have the choice of preparing á la-carte or set menus.

Frankly, utensil design is the project that excites me most in the Kitchen programme. Participants will be expected to submit utensil designs for use in the preparation and consumption of food which also support different forms of eating. Unusual kitchen utensils which bring innovative approaches to table manners will be used for the preparation of the menus. Remember that ideas on the Kitchen programme must be associated with contemporary Istanbul and the Biennial theme.

The theme will help determine public inclinations with an entertaining and educational programme and encourage progress with new designs and concepts. Seems as though this interactive programme will sound appetizing for the participants in every sense.