What drew you to interior design? What is your education background?
Murat Dede: It all started when I was a child my interest in architecture, in design my love of toying around with tools. My earliest memories are of pruning cherry trees with my granddad, watching mandarin blossoms bloom with my dad, sniffing those blossoms, splitting logs for firewood, playing with Lego, oh and music. As I got bigger, I would wake up early on weekends and doddle plans for the interiors of giant airplanes. I had a vivid imagination when I was little and just think: Those were the days before the education system dulled and filed us down like nails and robbed us of our dreams… Eventually I won a scholarship to study interior design at Izmir Economy University. I also worked for 3 months at a carpentry workshop and found that to be rather eye opening.
Afterwards, I did my Master’s at the Sapienza University of Rome. How did you decide to open up your own office? How did that shape your career?
MD: I would describe myself as one who lives chaotically from day to day, and yet who makes long-term goals. In other words, I live in the moment, but nevertheless plan ahead for tomorrow. On the day I sat the aptitude exam in university, I told myself that five years later I would be in Rome and doing my Master’s degree. And, whilst busy doing that, I told myself that I’d set up my own office at 30 years old. And, the rest is history. That said, I had worked by bum off between my university years and when I actually opened the office up. A very good friend of mine, Yiğit, sprinkled the yeast to the dough-I put the bread in the oven!
How would you describe your both your design style as well as your approach to architecture?
MD: One long continuous line, puritan; void of monotony, trending concepts, and populism… That aside, Urbanjobs does abide by certain key rules that, while well known, are seldom applied: Function, durability, and beauty. On top of those, we add emotion. We don’t design anything that is purely one or the other, i.e. purely functional, or purely beautiful.
Your signature can be found on the interiors of offices as well as on restaurants. What is the first thing or element that take into consideration when designing a restaurant? Are there any absolute musts in terms of rules?
MD: Whenever I begin a project, I always ask myself and, sometimes my client as well: Why? If I can satisfy my own question, then I know that I’ll crank out really good work. We first have to anchor a project to a context first. When you do that, you arrive at the right result. At Urbanjobs, we can’t just place a period, comma, exclamation mark, or question mark in any random of spot on a project. Before we sit down to start a project, we try to come up with an esquisse or more like we try and jot down a few notes. We first have to slip ourselves into the spirit of the project. We have to try and understand the client, as well as get a sense of what exactly it is we’re going to be do. Only then we do we posit the location. This concretizing of ideas is the easy bit. Where the real work lies is establishing why, and our context. Then comes the actual planning, the technical nitty gritty, the nooks, crannies, and grannies… As of late we’ve begun to request something different from the client to help us during this internalization process of sorts. Whether it be a restaurant or an office project, it doesn’t matter, we ask them to provide us with something that unifies the space. We expect them forward us a song, a poem (or a piece of prose), a certain drink, and a film. This is how we decrypt the intellectual dimension of both the client and the project at hand. It pushes both us and them to challenge our default “laissez-faire” nature.
What are the hallmarks of your career to date, project wise? Why?
MD: It would have to be “Getir.” Our designers are caught between the budget and the demands of the client on every project. That said, Getir brought out the best in our ideas because the client virtually allowed us free run.
You’ve created custom pieces of furniture for your interior design projects before. How does Urbanjobs approach this? Do you have goals that you set out before hand?
MD: To date, Urbanjobs has actualized close to 50 products that on top of hundreds of drafts for other pieces of furniture. These are either part of our own collection, or those that we’ve custom designed for our clients. One fundamental value of ours is “making proper and good design accessible.” Within that vision, we want to open our own gallery in 2021. While we wait for the right time and budget to do that, in the mean time, we anticipate we’ll have finished all of the prototypes of the items for our latest design project.
Recent history has showered you with a number of successes and awards, the latest of which being for the EDIDA Design Competition, hosted by Elle Decoration. What impact have these triumphs had on you?
MD: To be frank, winning an award both for spatial scale as well as for furniture design is no easy feat. However, you couldn’t get something more rewarding either. I often stress that Urbanjobs is a multi-faceted studio. To be able to win something motivates both my team and me. To see our work being praised by others, to not come back empty handed from competitions that either we had signed up for or were invited to, the blood, sweat, and tears that take us to the just right design… all of that shows us why we should never give up!
What place does natural stone hold when choosing what materials to use for your projects? How do you view natural stone?
MD: Natural stone harbours within itself both history and memory. It is a material that constructs itself beneath the quilt of Earth’s crust over hundreds of thousands of years. When we go to lift that quilt up, it offers us a slice of nature’s magnificent harmony. We must forget that it doesn’t actually belong to us but rather nature, and that she is lending it to us. We are obliged to show it due respect.
What are your short and long-term goals? What are you currently working on?
MD: We’re currently designing various types and sizes of eateries and workspaces. My short-term wish is that humanity be rid of the coronavirus pandemic and its reign of terror. My short-term goal, likewise, is to offer people beautiful spaces into which they can take refuge during these difficult times.