'Design the Life You Love: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Meaningful Future' is a new inspirational workbook-style method of creating your ideal life using the mentality of a designer, written by Turkish author, renowned speaker, workshop leader, award-winning artist and industrial designer Ayşe Birsel
Ayşe Birsel's "Design the Life You Love," is making waves in the U.S. and the Turkish edition will be released this month. A Turkish expat in the U.S., this self-help author and co-founder of Birsel+Seck, an innovative design studio in New York, will be coming to Istanbul this month for book signings at D&R and Atölye Istanbul, a talk at the Human Resources Summit 2016 and to lead a workshop on "Design the Life You Love at The School of Life."
Based on her acclaimed workshops, where she shares her design-influenced approach and tools to better managing our lives, which she has been leading all over the world for the past five years, "Design the Life You Love," released in October 2015, has seen unprecedented success, even being featured on Time.com as "How to Sketch a Life Plan." The Chicago Tribune includes "Design the Life You Love" amongst a list of "Five books to inspire a creative spark for a new year" and it was listed as one of the top 10 books "to have the best year ever" in 2016 by Mindbodygreen.com, the ultimate website on all topics related to self-improvement and health.
The Turkish version of "Design the Life You Love" will be released this month and Ayşe Birsel will be coming to Istanbul for a number of very important dates over the next 10 days to share her design wisdom and how to implement its methods to create the life you want. I had the chance to catch up with Ayşe Birsel, a Turkish expat taking New York by storm, whose inspirational methods and book are helping people better their lives for the future.
Originally hailing from İzmir, Ayşe studied Industrial Design at METU before moving to New York to do her design masters at the Pratt Institute on a Fulbright Scholarship. "Since then, I have lived here for more than 25 years, which apparently makes you a New Yorker," she said. I asked her to describe the premise of the book, which is an innovative journaling-type method of reassessing priorities, to which she tells me, "Design the Life You Love is applying design process and tools to your life, to think about your life creatively and with optimism."
As for how she came to publish a book in the U.S., Ayşe said, "I've been doing Design the Life You Love workshops since 2010. Participants started asking me if I was going to write a book and I found myself saying 'yes, I would like to,' until one day I realized I had to do it in earnest. It took me three years to actually finish drawing and writing this interactive and illustrative book that is for anyone," she adds, emphasizing "with no prior creative experience necessary."
I asked Ayşe how her journey into the area of self-improvement began. "I was interested in the intersection of life and design. It all started as an experiment. I believe that my life is my biggest project and I thought, 'if my life is a project, can I apply the design process to my life?' It grew as word of mouth from my first workshop on. It turns out there are many people who want to design their lives and they are extraordinarily creative when given a process and set of tools."
Ayşe has actually been giving masterclasses on her unique technique all over the world and continues to lead workshops in New York on a monthly basis. In addition to her upcoming dates in Istanbul, Ayşe has speaking engagements and workshops at HOW Design Atlanta, DMI Amsterdam, and Wonder Women Tech Long Beach, to name just a few. Behind the success of the book is also Ayşe's solid experience in design, reaping her numerous awards including the 2001 Young Designers Award from the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Athena Award for Excellence in Furniture Design from Rhode Island School of Design. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Ayşe is also the co-founder and creative director of Birsel + Seck, an innovative design studio based in New York she runs with Bibi Seck, "My partner in life and work, and myself," she says. "We design everything from toilet seats to automobiles, office systems to kitchen utensils, pens to office accessories, and consult on design strategy and process, working with companies like Herman Miller, Renault, Tiffany&Co., Staples, Converse, Paşabahce and Kale. Today 'Deconstruction: Reconstruction' is the red thread across all our work with four steps to the process: Deconstruction, POV, Reconstruction and Expression. This is also the process behind Design the Life You Love, my book," Ayşe tells me.
I asked Ayşe, who came to the U.S. in 1986 on a Fulbright, and has three children with her husband and Birsel + Seck co-founder, what her life was like as an expat. "My home is New York City. After all, this is where I grew up as a designer and had my family. Having said that, I go back and forth almost every month to see my beloved family, my dear friends and to work with leading design-minded Turkish companies." Hers is "a kind of bicoastal life between the Atlantic, the Marmara and Aegean seas," she said.
The Turkish edition of "Design the Life You Love: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Meaningful Future" will be released this month and this Sunday, Feb. 14 she will be at D&R in the Kanyon shopping center in Levent for a book signing at 3 p.m. Ayşe will also be one of the speakers at the Human Resources Summit 2016 held next Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 17 to 18, under the theme "Smart Simplicity" at the Istanbul Convention and Exhibition Center. On Feb. 18, Ayşe will be giving a talk and signing her book for fans at Atölye Istanbul, a creative community space in Bomonti.
Ayşe will also be giving her first workshop on "Design the Life You Love" in Turkish for The School of Life Istanbul, which will be held at Joint Idea, another communal space for creative endeavors, at Kanyon from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20.
To find out more about "Design the Life You Love" and to check out where she will be sharing her inspirational method of constructing an ideal life next, visit Ayşebirsel.com or the Design the Life You Love Facebook page and to check out her innovative design studio visit birselplusseck.com.