EXPERT OPINION 26 September 2019
You can be permanent with projects that can go beyond trends. We talked about architectural trends and Yıldız Entegre's products with Sinan Polvan, who is a lecturer at Bahçeşehir University Faculty of Architecture and Design, in addition to producing projects on various scales at Polvan Design.
After studying architecture at Graz Technical University in Austria and then at Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, Sinan Polvan returned home in 1995 and continues to work on various scales at Polvan Design, the interdisciplinary design office he founded with Serhan Yenilmez about 21 years ago. Polvan has also been teaching at the Faculty of Architecture and Design at Bahçeşehir University for 15 years, and has been teaching at Fachhochschule Salzburg University in Austria since 2009. In addition to these works, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Promotion and Protection of the Environment and Culture Association. He is also part of a structure that tries to bring the entire cultural heritage to earth today, including those that are environmentally sensitive and non-concrete. We interviewed architect Sinan Polvan focusing on his work and contemporary architectural trends.
Could you please inform us about the projects you are currently working on?
We have a heavy project traffic on various scales. For example, with the mayor’s own words; we are projecting “the first marinas of Central Anatolia” for the municipality of Koca Sinan in Kayseri. With this project, we will blaze a trail because of its location. We will position this marina on a dam lake in central Anatolia, in a shoreless area. We also have corporate projects which we work very hard on. We also design and manufacture fair stands for companies from various sectors. On the other hand, we have projects that we are interested in up to the product scale.
What do you think about current trends in your business?
You don't even remember what happened because some trends are bursting like bubble, so we're trying to keep track of the permanent trends. At first we tried to follow trends, and then we started to think, “What can we find that is permanent and that reflects us?” In this process, we have seen that even if you follow the trends, you have to avoid them from directing you; if you can produce projects that can go beyond the trends, you can be permanent. What designers are trying to do widely today is an advanced step in modernism, but we can't call it postmodernism. The modernism movement spread in the 1950s has been interpreted by playing more with geometric forms today. Unfortunately, these interpretations, especially in our country, have gone out of its aims and started to go towards the fetish of form.
Recently, we see that minimal, simple and spacious uses come to the fore. Can we relate this change to consumption culture?
People have lived as a consumer society up to now, and this has increased steadily since the ' 70s. Today, thanks to the great network of communication, they are aware of what is happening outside of their own world, and now they are on the path of a clearer enlightenment as they can follow developments in the world. Some prefer to live in places big enough for themselves, equipped enough for themselves. This brings minimalism in architecture and design.
We talked about the trends. But who are the ones who set these trends?
There are mass tendencies in the trends that take the world under influence periodically, namely in de facto trends. The driving force behind these is the subject of sociology and anthropology because there is a much broader social phenomenon that determines these trends. However, the contributions of star designers certainly have an impact on this process.
What do you say about the impact of technology on these trends and on your work?
Intelligent systems and digitization eliminate many unnecessary interfaces in our lives. Examples of this in architecture are very clear. There is a huge increase, especially in the use of intelligent buildings, natural resources and the choice of completely environment friendly buildings in order not to produce unnecessary waste materials accross the world. This brings the simplicity to spaces and external structures and it eliminates unnecessary things. It is possible to base this on sociological and anthropological foundations: people are being pushed into a chaotic life every day. For this reason, they tend to use simple, clear and needed equipments. This naturally brings simplicity to architecture, interior architecture and all design disciplines. We follow the world in our work and try to use technology as long as we need it. Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems of designers in Turkey is the inability to actualise original ideas. Most of the time you are working for an employer and what is important to you is who you are designing for. Within this framework, we are trying to benefit from developing technologies and digitization as much as possible. On the other hand, I can say that technological developments affect our project production processes. We used to prepare our drawings by hand. The fact that computer programs entered our lives and were accessible accelerated our work over time. Our project production processes have become 75 percent digital. We can't ignore the sketches we produce with hand and eye coordination at the outset of the concept in the process of thinking, but in the finalization of the project, most of the processes are going through the digital media.
How do you feed on the diversity in your studies?
This is about how you deal with diversity because today there is an incredible variety of materials. In fact, if we divide a project into three sub-headings, the concept, in other words, visual diversity comes first. Since we are in the age of communication, we are able to track what is going on in the world with a click. We're starting to create a visual memory. The richness of it and the fact that it can be included in every stage of our life enables us to synthesize more easily and to produce ideas. In fact, we never produce ideas from nothing; We are creating an original data by combining the data of our brain with the syntheses of various points. Therefore, visual diversity creates an incredible ability of synthesis. The second is the content; the hardware and the material are very prominent in the structures you create. Nowadays, you have so many alternatives about material that it is possible to create fictional and structural syntheses by using them. In this way, you get the chance to use the right material in the right place. Finally, the context; customers determine for whom, when, where, and what kind of project you are going to do because you are entering the production process with the guidance of various individuals and institutions. Therefore, there are different expectations. We also benefit from the diversity of ideas, content and context in our designs.
If we go into details ... What kind of line do you follow about laminate flooring applications on the floor?
It is useful to divide the use of laminate flooring on the floor into three. Solid, laminated and laminate flooring applications. It takes a very long process to implement the first alternative. Laminated parquet is already processed, so it provides a faster application on the floor. But here, the diversity of materials is limited by the number of real wood textures. In laminate flooring there is an unlimited variety of surfaces and colors. What makes it possible is the print of decor on a carrier surface made up of flakeboards. Its biggest advantages are that it is less expensive and easier to apply than massive materials, as well as that it can be applied with little workforce in less time and used as soon as it is laid. For this reason, we use laminate flooring on the floor in many projects today.
What do you say about the importance of surface and texture on wooden panel products?
Surface and texture are very important in every area where design touches because it is the surface where human touches the object and communicates visually before the contact. Wood-based panels are used in many areas of design today. In architecture, in interior architecture, in furniture and production process... it's spread across all areas. The reasons for this are ease of production, low cost and ease of use of the product. It is a product that we can always get results very quickly. We use it in many applications. We use wood-based panels especially for the stands we produce to be used in fairs. The surfaces are so developed with today's technology that we can apply all kinds of natural or artificial textures on them.
How do you see the change in the use of doors as a building element from past to present?
All of the doors had a different identity. This is still the case in many historic fabric and doors used in Anatolia today. The exterior doors of the buildings are a kind of personal card, especially for those living inside. For example, consider a caravanserai: The main entrance, which we call the crown gate, is higher than the boundry walls of the building in order to detect where the caravan will head from long distance and where we can enter the building. It is there to show itself. The elements that complete the doors (bells, knobs, handles) also give a lot of detail about the identity or history of the living inside. Today, the doors of the outside world are unfortunately starting to resemble each other. Although there are changes in interiors, there are so many similar applications too. This brings out a loss of identity from past to present. On the other hand, the diversity of materials and the use of wood-based panels have greatly varied the application in the doors.
Do you use Yıldız Entegre's products in your works?
We use wood-based boards in furniture production, surface production of interiors, on the floor of fair stands and on the wall. The most important feature for us is that the color of the texture is almost unlimited, and secondly, the application of it is easy and fast. In today's pace, we have to catch this speed in applications for the production of design.