Virtual Design Festival

Joali Maldives by Autoban
Autoban is a multidisciplinary design studio that works across Europe and Asia

Autoban's diverse portfolio is "grounded in storytelling"

VDF studio profile: Autoban is a multidisciplinary studio based in Istanbul, Turkey, which was established to "create meaningful designs that put forward enthralling narratives".

Founded in 2003 by Seyhan Özdemir Sarper and Sefer Çağlar, who were later joined by Efe Aydar, the studio's portfolio spans architecture and interiors, as well as product and experiential design developed for various sectors in cities across Europe and Asia.

Whatever the scale of the project, Autoban's ambition throughout is to act as a storyteller and provide end-users with characterful, unexpected and memorable experiences.

Heydar Aliyev International Airport terminal in Baku by Autoban
Key projects include its unconventional terminal interior for Heydar Aliyev International Airport

"Known for its signature multi-layered design approach grounded in storytelling, Autoban creates stimulating and sensory environments and experiences that are deeply rooted in cultural, social and geographic narratives, while pushing boundaries and challenging expectations," said the studio.

"Our main concern is creating spaces or objects that touch people's lives," it continued. "Good design should offer a singular experience to those who encounter or inhabit it, it should be memorable, characterful and surprising – a timeless design that speaks powerfully to both place and people."

Kilimanjaro restaurant by Autoban
In its home city of Istanbul, Autoban built the Kilimanjaro restaurant within an old brewery

An Autoban project that captures the studio's ethos is the Heydar Aliyev International Airport terminal in Baku, which was designed to challenge convention and make the hall a more welcoming environment.

The scheme involved the design and construction of cavernous, cocoon-like pods, built from wood, to divide up the terminal and create small, intimate hubs for passengers.

"Autoban's design for the Heydar Aliyev International Terminal displays the studios experimental and genre-defying approach, and overturns airport conventions of vast spaces and impersonal experiences, offering a new experience entirely to passengers," the studio explained.

Nest Chair by Autoban
Autoban's portfolio also includes installations and furniture designs, like its Nest Chair

Other significant projects by Autoban include Joali Maldives, a collection of villas in the small island nation in South Asia. The villas feature organic shapes and interior details made from tactile, locally-sourced materials like wood and rattan, intended to capture the spirit of the Maldives.

In its home city of Istanbul, the studio's most celebrated scheme is its interior design for the Kilimanjaro restaurant, which is located within a historic brewery.

The focal point of the restaurant is a sculptural, curvaceous bar that evokes an art installation, which is teamed with an industrial material palette to pay homage to the building's former use.

The Wish Machine by Autoban
One of its notable installations is The Wish Machine, created for the 2016 London Design Biennale

Autoban also has a significant presence in the design world, where it is best known for its immersive installations and furniture collections that are sold internationally.

Notable examples include the statement Nest Chair – a lounge chair distinguished by its protective shell-like form that offers users a secluded cosy space – and The Wish Machine installation.

Presented at the inaugural London Design Biennale in 2016, The Wish Machine was a pneumatic messaging system that transported the wishes of visitors, written on a piece of paper, to an unknown destination via a system of pressurised pipes.

Studio: Autoban
Contact address: [email protected]

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