2nd Istanbul Design Biennial:
The Future is Not What It Used to Be

Greek School, Istanbul, Turkey

IKSV, Istanbul

November 1 - December 14, 2014

Zoë Ryan

Associate Curator:
Meredith Carruthers

Exhibition Design: 
SUPERPOOL and Project Projects

Graphic Design: 
Project Projects

The 2nd Istanbul Design Biennial: The Future is Not What It Used To Be
IKSV/ Hatje Kantz, 2014

Zoë Ryan and Meredith Carruthers

Publication Design:
Project Projects

Biennial Website:


Under the overarching title, The Future Is Not What It Used To Be, the Second Istanbul Design Biennial invited designers, architects and others to rethink the manifesto as a catalyst for critical thinking in design. As a platform for inviting inquiry and exchange, the biennial asked: What is the future now? How do we define the future? Who defines it? And perhaps most importantly, whose future are we talking about? In the early years of the twentieth century, a time of rapid transition, artists, architects, and designers responded with manifestos: grand statements of purpose and visionary plans. Today, design has become inextricably linked to every aspect of our lives. From our buildings, streets, education, food, and health care to our communications, political, and economic systems, the types of work that designers are tackling has grown exponentially. The Second Istanbul Design Biennial harnessed the idea of the manifesto but invited people to rethink its role in contemporary life. Could the manifesto be rethought to question the role of design and suggest alternatives from multiple points of view, from different generations and places? In a more multilayered world, it is possible for manifestos to be more collective and accumulative, rather than declarative and univocal? Rather than only written statements, could a manifesto be an object, a building, a way of working, a methodology or approach, a system or network?

There were 53 projects in the biennial, conceived of by designers and architects working in more than twenty countries. The projects were presented in “departments” – rather than themes – that borrowed from the language of the grocery or department store, as much as from the academy or the laboratory. The projects by practitioners working in Australia, China, France, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the United States, among others, constituted alternative manifestos in the form of conversations, household objects, fashion accessories, menus, maps, buildings, food, postcards, magazines, smells and visual languages. They conveyed a multitude of points of view that took into account social, cultural, and economic factors while advocating for design to be a decisive factor in future decision-making processes. Rather than statements of purpose that are closed to interpretation, the works posed questions and proposed alternative directions and outcomes that are open-ended and encourage interaction and debate. The projects encouraged us all to pause look to the future but perhaps most importantly they urge us to look more closely at our present moment, at what’s going on around us, now. Ultimately, the biennial aimed to encourage a rethinking of our designed environment by selecting projects that depart from previously assigned definitions of how things should look and function in order to encourage a more multifaceted and context-driven reexamination of the objects, buildings, and environments we interact with daily. 

Talk to Us | Organized as part of the biennial planning process, the curators organized a series of salons in Istanbul that engaged almost a hundred architects, designers, curators, and critics in discussions around the theme of the biennial, ensuring the active participation of the local community and generating important ideas for biennial projects and programming. 

Project List

Personal Department:

The Moonwalk Machine—Selena’s Step, Sputniko!

Consider Beauty, Studio Frith & Thirteen Ways

Still Life to Living Pictures, Atelier Manferdini: Elena Manferdini

Jardin d’hiver, Dice Kayek: Ayşe Ege and Ece Ege

In The Future, Everyone Will Be Heroic for 1.5 Minutes, Sarraf Galeyan Mekanik: Memduh Can Tanyeli, Erhun Erdoğan and Emine Seda Kayım

BIRDY 2214, Meriç Canatan and Fatosh Erhuy

Ownership of the Face, Kristina Cranfeld

Manifesting the Look of Love, Haelo Design: Helen Maria Nugent and Ron Kirkpatrick

Poly, giffin’termeer: Jess Giffin and Jim TerMeer

Mapmaker Manifesto, Stamen Design: Beth Schechter and Eric Rodenbeck

New Survivalism, Jessica Charlesworth and Tim Parsons 


Norms and Standards Department:

N°41 Workoutcomputer, BLESS: Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag

Dyslexie Typeface, Christian Boer

Nap Gap, J. Mayer H. und Partner, Architekten: Jürgen Mayer H. with Wilko Hoffmann and Julien Sarale

smart design (. . .) smart life, Jacob de Baan, Giorgio Caione and Rianne Koens

Justaddwater, Koz Susani Design: Defne Koz, Marco Susani

LEPSIS: The Art of Growing Grasshoppers, Mansour Ourasanah

Designing for the Sixth Extinction, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg

New Energy Landscapes, Sean Lally

Incomplete Manifesto for The Night, Clio Capeille

Towards a Universal Mundane Manifesto, Emmet Byrne and Alex DeArmond


Resources Department:

A Reading Room, Future Anecdotes Istanbul: Can Altay and Aslı Altay

Open Manifesto, FormaFantasma: Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi

Palamut Timeline, Didem Şenol of Lokanta Maya and Gram, with Elif Esmez, Esra Aca

Rebuild the Electronic and Digital Tools, Coralie Gourguechon

NASALO Dictionary of Smell, Sissel Tolaas

This sea of sugar knows no bounds, AVM Curiosities: Tasha Marks

Hacking the Modern Kitchen, Gastronomika

Diario, Moisés Hernández

knowledge-tools-memory, Studio mischer’traxler: Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler

Crafted in Istanbul, Seda Erdural, Barış Gümüştaş and Bilal Yilmaz

Repair Society, Gabriele Oropallo, Joanna van der Zanden, and Cynthia Hathaway 

Cultures of Assembly, Studio Miessen 

Imagining Our Shared Future, Atatürk Library, Alexis Şanal and Ali Taptık


Civic Relations Department:

Public Drawing, Atelier Bow-Wow: Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima

Use of Shores, a Micro-Manifesto on Micro-Urbanisms, İyiofis: Elif Ensari and Can Sucuoğlu

The Moment for the Generic is Now, fala atelier: Filipe Magalhães and Ana Luisa Soares 

#occupygezi architecture, Architecture for All (Herkes için Mimarlık)

The Encounterculture or, Seven Ways to Participate, SIBLING: Amelia Borg, Nicholas Braun, Jonathan Brener, Jessica Brent, Jane Caught, Qianyi Lim, Timothy Moore, and Alan Ting

Retreat, dpr-barcelona: Ethel Baraona, Studio-X; GSAPP: Marina Otero and FAST, The New Institute, Rotterdam: Malkit Shoshan

Design Activism: A Contemporary Design Manifest, Manufakturist: Mia Bogovac, Matea Bronić, Maša Milovac, and Kristina Volf; GOTWOB: Begüm Çelik and Berk Şimşek

TWTRATE, Cansu Cürgen, Eren Tekin, Yelta Köm, Barış Gümüştaş, Avşar Gürpınar, Yağız Söylev and Arzu Erdem

Gümüştaş, Avşar Gürpınar, Yağız Söylev and Arzu Erdem

Who Builds Your Architecture?, WBYA?: Kadambari Baxi, Jordan Carver, Laura Diamond Dixit, Tiffany Rattray, Beth Stryker, Mabel O. Wilson

How To Do Too Kadıköy, 72 Hour Urban Action: Kerem Halbrecht and Gilly Karjevsky; with Tasarım Atölyesi Kadıköy (TAK): Onur Atay, Omer Kanıpak, Sıla Akalp

Retroactive Manifesto, Rural Urban Framework: Joshua Bolchover and John Lin

UMK: Lives and Landscapes, Dunne & Raby: Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby

Phoenix Declaration, Arctic Perspective Initiative (API): Matthew Biederman and Marko Peljhan

The Cultural Sauna, Åbäke

ABC Manifesto Corporation Writers and Consultants, disturbATI collective


Broadcast Department:

Kontraakt Radio Station, H. Cenk Dereli, Hayrettin Günç, and Yelta Köm

Unfacebook, Vibok Works: Paula Alvarez 

140journos: Data Concretization, Institute of Creative Minds: Cem Aydoğdu, Engin Önder, Hilal Koyuncu, İgal Nassima, Meriç Şeker

Growing Manifesto, Something & Son: Andrew Merritt and Paul Smyth