An exotic design store with a museum quality in the heart of historical part of Istanbul / The Columns

For people living in Istanbul, it is a given fact to combine daily life with previous crossing civilizations and their ancient ruins in the city. The exotic design store called The Columns _which had taken its name from the two historical columns standing on the basement floor_  is a very good example to that…

I actually find  hard to call the place just as  a store by its 1700-1800 years of old architectural ruins inside and showcasing   wonderful mix of modern and authentic art reflecting  a museum quailty!! Today, I will share with you interesting and most inspiring  photos and my observation of this great store in Sultanahmet, Istanbul.

As soon as I came into the store, I was welcomed by the columns on the basement which I could see through the plexiglass base. It almost gave me a feeling of  flying over the antique ruins of the city but strangely enough  indoor?:).. I felt bit dizzy standing on a glass being dazzled by the wonderful design objects and art pieces  that I bumped into.. I must say it was  a good surprise of my short sunday excursion which I made to the historical part of the city.

I was told by the owner of the store, Mehmet Çetinkaya _ the two historical Columns that were resting on a marble base in the store was the ruins of the best private archeological excavation made in the last 30 years in the city. While at this moment they expect from Monuments Committee of Turkey to give them further information about these ruins found in the place, they were advised  that the columns were estimated to belong to the entrance part of a Byzantine palace from 3rd or 4th century and the large wall in the store was belong to Roman Empire…

So if you are in Istanbul and come across the above sign of the store_ The Columns, I suggest you to step  inside to see the wonderful style mix of today’ s  Istanbul and history of old Constantinople.   The most of design objects that are sold in Two Columns are belong to the contemporary Turkish artists who are inspired by the Turkish culture. They are also mixed with the authentic and antique pieces in all over the store.

This is the down floor which I was truly amazed. The space and the objects laid around the store telling  so much about mix of  cultures in this territory  and the life style.

Especially, the white Marmara Marble covering the floor and some part of the walls are symblozing the  typical Turkish living style.  This local marble  has been used in the hammams through the centuries of all history mainly because of  the nature of the stone  transfering the heat.  Its natural pattern with grey straight lines on soft white ground is also very distinctive and could stand out in between many marbles found in the world. It takes its name from the Marmara region where the stone is carved from. Also, I must say these days it is extremely popular between the designers and it has been used not only in the baths but also in many spaces and even on furnitures…

These stools made with soap pillows, made by the  Turkish ceramic artist Birsen Canbaz,  frames the artistic objects  in most interesting way in this Hammam like space. I found this stools extremely smart and contemporary. If I get a chance to design  Hammam  _honestly I m dying to do it_ I will certainly ask Birsen Canbaz to sell me these stools for my project:)

The hexagonal table is referring the belly stone (Göbek Taşı) which is placed in the middle of the hammam. Of course in real life it is bigger and while taking baths people lays down on it to relax their muscles on its warm stone and get masseged on it. Here Birsen Canbaz used this piece more in  a display format to showcase her ceramic sandals and bowls.  I also  loved the geometrical Selçuklu pattern which was painted onto the stone.

The actual Hammam sandals  is wooden,  The sandals protect a person to slip away while walking on the damp floor. These interpretations are made out of ceramic as decorative object.

The colorful ceramic bowls and the hand sculpture in the middle is a nice  interpretation of the artist.

These big ceramic bowls are belong to  Serap Yurdaer. She uses Turkish decorative figures on her work and recreate them with her modern approach.

The whirling dervish is a delicate hand-made piece from Cam Ocağı (Glass Furnace)

These ceramic boxes painted with beautiful flowers are made to be used as candle holders. They are again from Serap Yurdaer’ s atelier. The artist executes interesting authentic design objects in ceramic. Her atelier will absolutely be  stop on my next trip to Çeşme.

These are antique boxes from Anatolia

These decorative objects are all antique pieces found in the region

These red glass  pomegranates made in Cam Ocağı (Glass Furnace) stands out in front of the grey Marmara Marble

Fatma’ s hands are the work of artist Pınar Hekim. This symbolic decorative element is used in many homes in the middle East. They are used to bring good luck and protection to its owners. This design object is a good example showing similarities between Islamic and Jewish culture and traditions.

The owner of The Columns is actually very famous with his exquisite fabric and kaftan collections in Çetinkaya Gallery where he had been also been pubished at the prestigious Design magazines like Architectural Digest, Veranda and The Cornuccopia. On the first floor of the store and in the window display he showcases wonderful pillows in ikat and silk velvet.

This stock of fabric rolls all made in Ikat technique. They lay on the shelves and waiting to color the rooms in more elegant way. I find most enjoyable part of decoration to finish the rooms with these wonderful pillows made of Ikat fabrics.

 I just loved the naive and colorful painting of the closet under the Suzani’ s in this picture.    This set up takes me to the plains of Central Asia which I m dying to go and take photos of daily life and decorative objects representing the strong culture behind.

The Columns have a great collection of Suzani fabrics from  central Asia as well. Most of them are at least 50-100 years old. Since Mehmet Çetinkaya’ s main interest is on textile, fabrics, kaftanas and carpets he has a separate store right next to Columns carrying wider selection of these items.

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