Turkey Design Week to be held for the first time!

Turkey Design Week press conference was held at Istanbul Foreign Trade Complex with the participation of T.R. Ministry of Economy Mr. Nihat Zeybekçi and TIM Chairman Mr. Mehmet Büyükekşi.

During the “Turkey Design Week”, to be held on 18-23 October 2016 for the first time this year with the cooperation of  Ministry of Economy and Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM), panels, conferences and worships will be organized aimed at industrial design, fashion design and visual communication design with the participation of world-renown designers, universities, design schools, industrialists and academics. The said organization will be enriched with the exhibitions and fashion shows of the finalists of design competitions held within the year, Turkish designs that won awards in prestigious design competitions of the world and national/international project exhibitions of design centers and design offices. The activity that will bring together all stakeholders working in the design field under one roof will constitute an integrated design ecosystem by covering Design Turkey Award Ceremony and Exhibition.

In the press conference, while it was announced that the application process has begun for Design Turkey 2016 the deadline for application was announced as august 31st.  Award application categories were listed 13 sectors; namely packaging, lighting, electronic products, household appliances, home and office tools and accessories, public and commercial products, furniture, sports, hobby, game and personal products, transportation and transport vehicles, construction tools, investment products and medical devices. The products for which Design Turkey Application will be made must be produced between 1 January – 30 June 2016 with industrial methods and presented to the market and also their designers, producers or name owners must be Turkish citizens. Within the scope of “Design Turkey Industrial Design Awards”, for the purpose of supporting creative ideas that will determine the direction for industry in the future, a “Conceptual Design Awards” category is also present where design projects that are not scheduled for production are evaluated. The top three finalists in the union competitions of industrial design content this year will be deemed to have applied for Design Turkey Conceptual Design category directly and free of charge.

The products that pass the pre-screening will be evaluated by an international jury composed of more than 30 design authorities in 3 categories as “Good Design Award”, “Superior Design Award” and Conceptual Design Award” and on sectoral basis. Products will be evaluated with criteria such as the innovations they bring, the difference they offer, their capability to meet the requirement of the users, their functionality and their aesthetic values. The competition is intended to make significant contributions to Turkey's being a brand with design; the designs that receive awards in the competition will guide the industrialists on the properties that a good design must have, also will be a guide for determining the correct design strategies in the product development process. Award winning products will be advertised in national as well as international platforms through exhibitions and publications.

In the press conference, TIM Chairman Mr. Mehmet Büyükekşi said:  “We are together here today to announce the Turkey Design Week. There is an environment where competition is very fierce. Today, it is not sufficient only to produce and market high quality goods to achieve success. In order for the export to be permanent and sustainable, the high added value production is indispensible. We want to create world brands in 2023 targets; our goal is to create 10 international brands. In the last 6 year about 250 R&D centers were opened. We set a target of 500 R&D centers. We believe that works in this field will become more important especially to open R&D Centers in many sectors. We want to instill innovation ambition to our firms and our future generations with the work we are doing. We want to kindle the torch of innovation in our country”.

He continued to say: “Especially we see Turkey Design Week that we are introducing today quite important for the development of our export. There are 3 important subjects in the activity: Industrial design, fashion design and visual communication. We will process these 3 themes extensively in the Design Week that will be held in Lütfi Kırdar. We are aiming for the participation of tens of thousands of people, among them students, businessmen, industrialists. We are aiming the development of products with high added value, spreading and incitement of design with this activity. We want to make design a topic that is talked about not for 1 day but for 1 year. We are aiming that the activity make contribution to Turkey's being a brand with creativity. If the exporters and industry starts to give money to design, then the design will become a popular profession among young people. Our target groups are industrialists, universities, academics, students, state bureaucracy; politicians should attach the required importance to design. Within the scope of the Design Week, there will be conferences, panels, workshops for 3 days. There will be Turquality firms and Design Turkey exhibitionists. Various design competitions organized by exporter unions will be there. 22 competitions will be organized. We will select one Turkey champion among each of them. There is also the Istanbul Design Week that is held every year; we will take that under the umbrella of Turkey Design Week this year. A special exhibitions space will be allocated for Design Turkey.  We will invite the best design schools from California to Barcelona School of Design. We selected 10 schools. Design centers will be with us in Turkey.

At the end of his speech TIM Chairman Mr. Mehmet Büyükekşi said: “Our goal in Turkey Design Week is not to exhibit contemporary art, to present it to people's liking and do something that will remain with appreciation. We want the designed products, whether fashion or industrial design, be combined with industry and come to life. We want to increase the sale of products with added value, to get competitive superiority for our country, to increase design awareness and to make the Turkish design into a brand”.

Dr. Mehmet Muş, AK Party Group Vice Chairman, who took the floor after Mehmet Büyükekşi, said that this type of organizations are very important for the point that Turkish economy has come to especially in the last 15 years and for achieving the targets after this point.

Minister of Economy Mr. Nihat Zeybekci, who made his speech after Mr. Mehmet Muş, said: “Today we have an export volume of 150 billion dollars, but we are lingering around here for the last 6 years, we cannot go beyond it; this is the proof that we are stuck. We can force 1.9 per kilogram for the products we export at the most. There is a target of 500 billion dollars of export for year 2023. Presently it is impossible with the existing situation. We can see figures with 300, but we are going to say 500, Turkey must transform. Turkey achieved a great success as contract manufacturing. Turkey's export has reached 150 billion dollars, this is an incredible success. If you consider a Turkey that has its own areas such as patents, designs, presentations, promotions, information, technology, distribution channels, shops, then 500 billion dollars will be a child's toy. We must start somewhere.”

He continued to say: “Consider that one of the most commonly known and used brands today is Apple; it is designed in California and manufactured in China. Look what is written on your telephones or computers… 'Designed by Apple in California, made in China'. Alright, we all know that, but how much of the added value obtained from this product remains in China? How much of it goes back to America? According to a research conducted very recently, only 2.1% percent remains in the country where the installation was made and 48.8% goes to the country where the design was made and the brand was issued.

According to the data published by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in December 2015, we are placed 6th in the world in the number of brand applications. We are placed first in Europe for 5 years. Also, according to the world design awards given between the years of 201-2016, regarding the number of award winning designs we come second after USA (Turkey won 297 awards, USA 389 awards). In the brand applications made to Turkey through Madrid System in 2015 we are placed 11th in the world with over 10,400 applications, in the applications made from Turkey through Madrid System we are placed 12th in the world with approximately 1,500 applications.

We can design, too, create brand; our brands can take their places in the international arena in the most important corners of the streets where international brands are. We see Turkish brands in Paris, Tokyo, New York and we are proud to see them. Turquality is a program that gives hundreds of millions dollars of support.” He concluded his speech with the following: “One of the most important things that we must do is to make Turkey a brand. We will do it together in unity with self-confidence”.