We, as the Designer Interviews ("DI") had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to interview award-winning, most creative and innovative Kurt Orkun Aktas ("KOA").
Orkun Aktas is an academician having strong ties with the industry and most important of all, married and father of two. Aktas has gained extensive expertise in product design and various interior design projects throughout his 26 year professional career. Aktas has worked for a major local furniture company before starting up his own firm. He has given part-time lessons for design students parallel to his professional career. In December, 2017, he has accepted an academic post in a state university thus deciding to progress in academia. His keen search for expressing complex design ideas in their most refined and simple forms marks a challenge he enthusiastically takes on in every design problem.
Kurt Orkun Aktas Designs
We are pleased to share with you original and innovative design work by Kurt Orkun Aktas.
Designer Interview of Kurt Orkun Aktas:
DI: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
KOA : I have graduated from university as an industrial designer. My master’s degree and my doctorate degrees are in interior architecture. During my professional career of 26 years, I have worked on interiors and also have produced a significant amount of product designs.
DI: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
KOA : Aktas PCC is a prolific firm specialized in interior design applications. Design studies are made by firm owner K. Orkun Aktas. After initial design is complete then visualization and application stages are carried out to create unique interiors.
DI: What is "design" for you?
KOA : I have always perceived the design process as a methodology to improve life. Whichever activity that takes place under the definition of design has always given inspiration to create what has not yet been done.
DI: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
KOA : I like to create projects for commercial and social areas; whether it is a restaurant, a cafe or a store.
DI: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
KOA : The very first thing that I had designed in my office was a retail system for small electrical appliances of a major company’s retail points throughout Turkey. It was the design, manufacture and fitting of the system. The whole duration had been immensely educational and beneficial on my behalf.
DI: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
KOA : I believe that a designed object or a space is at its best state when it is relieved from all unnecessary clutter. So when a design is both functional and yet simplistic enough, then it is near reaching my design criterias.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
KOA : I undergo a feeling of respect towards the design task. This feeling is directed towards the customer, then the design itself and my contribution to the process.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
KOA : The realization of a design is not always necessarily the end of the design process. The realization of the design is to make your own views publicly recognized. After realization, it is always an enlightening experience to gather feedbacks from others.
DI: What makes a design successful?
KOA : A design can be called successful when it is both functional and when it is in accordance with the design intention.
DI: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
KOA : Our role in society is to improve people’s lives. As for the environment; certain sustainability issues must be dealt with thus referencing certain eco-friendly materials is a wise option.
DI: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
KOA : Improvements in technology, materials and manufacturing systems have led to increasing amounts of personalization in both products and spaces. Manufacturers will need to take this change in consumer trends into consideration in future production perspectives.
DI: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
KOA : I find using materials and techniques devised for certain purposes to be used in different contexts to be a rich experimenting field. The use of these existing materials and techniques bring out a creative synergy that positively effects overall design.
DI: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
KOA : I believe that the most important part of the whole design process is the pre-design research phase. My main approach is to start designing after having evaluated existing products in the market, customer requests and technical necessities. All that is seen as the eventual design is always a solution to existing problems.
DI: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
KOA : I live in Ankara, the capital and the birthplace of the Republic of Turkey. Ankara is Turkey’s second biggest city after İstanbul. It is a well organized city that is a balanced mixture of industrial, residential and commercial areas. All designs we produce in this city are of international standards and are positive contributions to the cultural heritage of the city.
DI: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
KOA : The design process is in fact a mutual process. The relationship between the firms and the designers must be based on trust and transparency. Firms ought to be open to criticisms regarding their existing products and services. All parties should be open-minded to the creative process and aim to improve collaboration.
DI: Can you describe a day in your life?
KOA : I try to reserve an important amount of my time to academic literature reviews. The rest is spent on daily tasks and family.
DI: What is your "golden rule" in design?
KOA : I believe honesty is the golden rule in design. Honesty to the design, to the customer, design team and honesty in use of materials is of great importance
DI: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
KOA : My design activity starts with extensive research. During this phase I do not draw. The research might take days or sometimes weeks. After research phase is done and I have no more questions to answer to myself, I prepare the preliminary design approximately within an hour.
DI: Who are some of your clients?
KOA : I have quite a number of corporate customers. Namely, YKM, Alstom, Ziraat Bank, Liva İncek, Ayeses Defence, Directorate General of Land Registry and Cadastre, Koleksiyon Furniture, Houston Hotel, Turkish-American Association are some of the more recognized ones.
DI: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
KOA : I have had the opportunity to work on various projects ranging from bank branches to residential projects. So this has led to a wide scope of references. With each different project requirement, I have studied, learned and designed accordingly. I believe this has prepared me to become ready for a variety of projects. Instead of a being limited to single line of design, I have found it more professionally satisfying to work on different project scales and types.
DI: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
KOA : I believe in the power of design to shape the future of humanity. I will continue to design and widen my personal network of designers via A-Design.
DI: How can people contact you?
KOA : People curious about my works can send an email to email@example.com for further information. My personal web page is currently under construction