Tabanlıoğlu Mimarlık designed the installation, an interpretation of renowned Turkish author Sabahattin Ali's novel "Madonna in a Fur Coat," as one of the eight design groups to display their work at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the main venue of London Design Week (LDW). This unique work, "Beloved/Azizem," can be viewed until Sept. 25.
"Madonna in a Fur Coat" was written in 1943 and remains one of the bestselling novels today. The novel was translated for the first time into English in May of last year by Maureen Freely and Alexander Dawe and was released by Penguin Books' Modern Classics Series. Since the book was translated into English after 73 years, Tabanlıoğlu Mimarlık wanted to honor certain works, such as "Big Love Story," at London Design Week, taking place Sept. 17-25.
The "Beloved/Azizem" installation embodies the existence/non-existence of an ordinary person; how a certain person has such an amazing depth, a colorful world inside and the enlightenment one reaches through love instead of focusing on the actual plot of the book.
When you approach the reflective surface of the installation, to peak into Mr. Raif's hidden notebooks, in other words his inner world through the tears, before you face "the other," you become face to face with your own image.
The 13-meter long black box that visitors of all ages, heights and sizes can peak through is located on the bridge in the Medieval & Renaissance gallery at the museum. The "beloved" sign, which can be seen from underneath the bridge, draws attention, especially with the lights leaking out of it.
A sound installation by Serdar Ateşer accompanies the inner installation inspired by the era and the regions and moods of the (anti-) hero and his lover reflect the mood of the novel.
The work, designed and curated by Melkan Gürsel and Murat Tabanlıoğlu and executed by TA Atelier in consultation with İhsan Bilgin and Necmi Zeka, has been realized with contributions by PATTU and Emre Dörter, who participated in the "PortCityTalks.Istanbul.Antwerp" exhibition curated by Melisa Mızraklı, Cemal Emden and again last year by Murat Tabanlıoğlu that took place at Anvers, Belgium, MAS Museum.
"This installation offers a physical experience where the readers will be able to visualize the scenes from the book; it's a recreation that triggers their memories and touches their feelings. This is a very important and intimate experience celebrating literature, passion and the state of human beings as architects ourselves," says Tabanlıoğlı. He adds that pursuing the traces and stories of Raif Efendi and author Sabahattin Ali in Berlin and Potsdam was a personal experience for him and a part of the exhibition.
Melkan Gürsel notes that the first sentence of the book, "Only one of all the people I have run across, only one of them had the biggest effect on me," refering to Raif Efendi, considered a pushover by many, had been their first step in creating the installation to set the inner and outer relations.
A book of interviews with Filiz Ali, Fatih Özgüven, Olaf Bartels, Ali Cengizkan, İhsan Bilgin and curator/designer Murat Tabanlıoğlu and Melkan Gürsel's articles on Sabahattin Ali, the novel, the era, the cities of Berlin and Ankara and interviews with team members accompanies the installation, which can be visited for 10 days in London. The book, published by Yapı Kredi Publications, was published simultaneously with the exhibition.
The exhibition can be visited until Sept. 25.