Oktay Degirmenci is our main Art Director who drives the vision of all our artisan-made products. Not only does he manage, create and push the limits of what is possible with our Artisan / Design Teams, he is a well-established figurative artist (you can see his artist bio summary by clicking here). He brings a collective group of strengths which is one of our most unique assets for being able to constantly create with our Artisan / Design teams.

How has Your Art Career Impacted Your Designs of Natural Stone Coffee Tables?

The concept of design constitutes the beginning of production. It does not matter whether this is a work of art or an industrial product. Whatever it is that we plan on making or want to happen, we first create it in our minds and give shape to it. In this regard, both occur as the result of the act of creation. What separate the two, however, is related to your aims in creation. They have different problematics. I love everything that involves design in its foundation. For this reason, I find it very enjoyable to create functional objects outside of artistic productions.

In my artistic work, composition and balance are very important for me. You can notice that easily in my paintings. The new forms I create with the figures that have turned into stains with the fullness-emptiness principle are immediately noticeable in my compositions.

When I am designing marble tables and coffee tables I work with similar methods and principles. For example, the relationship between the legs of the marble tables or coffee tables and their top, the proportions within these, and the balance between the overarching form of the table with the empty space beneath it…

How do You Work with Natural Stone & the Intricacies Behind it?

Materials that have formed naturally are incredibly fascinating with their texture and endless colors. This effect can even make your gaze at the material itself for hours.

I begin work by selecting the slab I think is the best fit for my design. While the hardness of the natural stone makes it harder to work the material, its veins also bring the risk of breaking and fragmenting easily. Thus, it is important to be careful during the selection process.

I then create three dimensional renditions with perfect measurements based on my initial sketches of the design, using computer software. I can know to a large extent how the finalized work will look like by locating the 3D image in a variety of places and rooms. The rest is manufacturing… cutting the natural stone to the set measurements and bringing it all together.

How do You Perceive Art Functionality with Design?

Viewing the practical problems in life through a new perspective and the effort to create solutions constitute the first stage of product design. Of course, the priority in the creation of a new product is functionality and to meet a need. But the concept of design is not limited to this. It has to involve a level of aesthetics as well as creativity. Design has a need to appeal to our sense of aesthetics, just as much as the creation of a functional object meets a different need. The fact that people have always been drawn to the beautiful and the different is their most distinct characteristic. In this regard you can recreate an existing object of functionality with novel or traditional material and techniques in new forms and shapes. Of course, the originality and uniqueness of the design is sine qua non – a must.

His Perspective on Pushing Limits of Design and Where it is Going for the Future

I think design is a necessity in our day and age where industrial production offers so much quantity and variety. There are so many options that what distinguishes your design from others’ is related to its originality and attractiveness. You must constantly develop yourself. Science and technology are progressing at an amazing speed. The new materials that become available for use and the emergence of new methods and opportunities with which you can work these new materials make knowledge of technique and materials a necessity. For this reason, observing as many design products as possible improves and develops your perspective, judgement and appreciation of visual aesthetics, and your capacity for innovation. We can even see that many design products that have been completed and have made their way into our daily lives are influencing our behavior and even changing our social relationships. Therefore, in my view, design defines a much wider area of influence beyond simply creating a new form. You cannot remain indifferent to all this if you are a designer or are interested in design.

The limits of design are related to the limits of the designer’s imagination. When you just consider that melodies with infinite potential are possible with only seven notes, I believe that given the variety of material, the ways of working them are also infinite. Just knowing this is very exciting.