Eda Tahmaz is a restorator architect and interior designer. She is the founder of EDDA Architecture, a studio specializing in architecture alongside product and interior design projects. With offices in Istanbul and Montenegro, her team is the mind behind many commercial and residential buildings. Over her twenty years in business, Eda Tahmaz has done extensive consultation as well as inspiring custom design work for countless projects in the private and public spheres. Her spatial projects likewise have won her numerous accolades most notably Imak Oftest’s Executive Office awarded by European Property Awards. We recently interviewed EdaTahmaz to learnabout how she approaches design, what she expects from natural stone and what her future goals are.
Briefly, how did you stumble into architecture? Moreover,
how did you come to found EDDA Architecture?
Eda Tahmaz: I majored in restoration at Yıldız Technical University’s School of Architecture. I graduated in 1991 and then applied to Mimar Sinan University’s School of Fine Arts to study Interior Design. Afterwards, I got involved in various restoration and architecture projects. I founded EDDA Architecture in 2008. For over twenty years now, we focus on commercial and residential buildings, we do consultation and we do custom design work that we hope is creative and inspiring for the public and private spheres. We have two offices: Our headquarters in İstanbul, plus a branch in Montenegro. We have a 7 to 8-person team.
How do you go about the design process? What stages do you
ET: It depends on what the project is and what its for. The only things that don’t change are that we place top priority on function and on the space’s story, and that we do our best to covey that. To do that, you have to be able to fully understand what the intended function, aim, and emotional state of the space are. Then, you have to holistically plan that into and keep it at the fore of the design. Corporate office projects take up a sizable chunk of your portfolio.
What, criteria-wise, goes into designing offices these days?
ET: Office design has changed considerably over the years, as client’s needs change. Part of this has to do with a generational difference. Moreover, the opportunities that today’s office offers is completely different. It has been proven that spaces where employees feel peaceful and comfortable, can communicate comfortably, and blended with the warmth of natural materials and textures contribute positively to the psychology of the employees. Spaces that feature natural materials and warm textures have been proven to have a positive impact on employee psychology. I, too, feel that going for such materials in multifunction spaces and lounges plus certain colors and accessories can elevate worker morale. Pairing different hues with organic textures can make them more creative. Natural light has same effect if you exploit it as an architectural solution. It can open up a space, and therefore the mind.
The number one factor dictating office design is how the company in question is organized as opposed to what it does. Regardless, we aim through design to create spaces that inspire their users to think outside the box and be active. That, in turn, makes office life more dynamic. The European Property Awards nominated Imak Ofset’s Executive Office for the “Best Office Interior Turkey” in 2020.
What traits earned it that honor, do you think?
ET: Imak Ofset was an applied interior design project. We used a color scheme, materials, and landscaping to bring out the company’s identity. We fashioned each room to be vibrant, dynamic, and functional. We wanted to create a pleasant environment for employees. We designed departments around social spaces that we imagined as seeds or cores. We at the request of users painted different departments different color palates for variety sake. We fitted managerial offices with carpets, marble, natural wood, and metal to create clean lines. Our ultimate goal was a work environment where innovative solutions broke the traditional office mold and hence how we got our award, I think.
What other projects have defined your career?
ET: Tuzla Villa earned us two prizes, both in 2017: The International Design Awards – IDA (Best Mansion) and the European Property Awards (Best Interior Design Private Residence). We designed three villas with a traditional Turkish house plan plus in inviting common area for residents to mingle. Each home there within is ideal for large families, and includes an entire floor dedicated to guests. Every room looks out onto a central vestibule, atop which is a glass dome that illuminates the entire gallery and staircase. Every room also contains bay windows, an element popular in traditional Anatolian homes, alongside classical Turkish architectural motifs, also seen along the staircase and vestibule ceiling.
Where do you pay attention when it comes to energy
efficiency and sustainability?
ET: Increasing the elements that will increase energy efficiency begins with design. Choosing the right material in the building, impermeability, insulation of the building envelope for heat and water, including the facade, roof and foundation, proper heating with glass, joinery, selection of cooling systems, efficient devices are among the factors that affect energy efficiency. At the same time, these factors are of great importance in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. One of our main goals is to contribute to energy consumption by keeping the use of daylight at the maximum level in our projects. Solar energy is also widely used in electricity and heating. Natural stone is a timeless material.
How do you think people will use it, or at least talk about
it in 2021?
ET: Stone has been man’s refuge for millennia. We have used it to encapsulate our thoughts and feelings long after we ourselves become history. It symbolizes durability, infinity and reliability so much so that we trust it enough to carry our bodies into the afterlife. Color, texture, scale, how one can process it if you let designer’s worldly imagination loose, then there is no limit to what you can do with it. Natural stone a seeped its way into all aspects of our modern lives thanks to technology and ever expanding environmental consciousness. This includes our quest for sustainability and for the organic. More people will look to stone in 2021 because it has a long shelf life, and because its resistant to heat and pollution. Plus, it is recyclable, green, healthy and capable of upholding a building’s thermal balance.
What kind of natural stone might be this year’s trendsetter?
ET: You are likely to see more sea stone in decorative items. It wlll prove to be a more sustainable alternative to concrete. Seashells are rich in calcium carbonate (i.e. limestone), a key component of concrete. You wlll see terrazzo diversify and grow in popularity. I also foresee people exploiting marble to line floors and walls, as well as to spruce up furniture, accessories, and light fixtures albeit the latter in much smaller quantities. Natural stone is flexible.
What functions do you see it fulfilling this year?
ET: In architecture, we will see a thinner variant of it on façades. In interior design, it’ll maintain its place in kitchens, bathrooms and decorative objects because of the color and textural possibilities it offers. That said, the pandemic has kept us indoors more. Hence, I feel that more people are going to want stone in their living spaces perhaps in the form of small-scale items like furniture and accessories. Natural stone has the potential to uplift a space’s atmosphere and energy. If used right, it can make a space feel very much lived in. Covid-19 has caused us to consider hygiene and natural materials for living spaces.
Do you think that this would draw more people to natural
ET: Covid-19 has flipped our lives upside down. We are constantly thinking about “health” with every step we take, every morsel of food we consume, and every surface we touch. Natural stone comes directly from Mother Nature; it’s healthy, it’s green. For us humans, it lends itself to livability. So, of course more people are going to turn to it and to other living materials for that matter.
As for what you are currently working on…
ET: We are continuing work on an office in Bolu. We also have two residential projects on the go, one in Bodrum, the other in Urla, plus a villa complex project in Büyükçekmece the design phase of which is complete and ready to get built.
What are your long-term goals and plans?
ET: As a woman in a male-dominated profession, I want to our projects to raise the bar. My dream is to see more female architects more women take up architecture and design worldwide. I want us to have the competitive edge.