The German philosopher Nietzsche once said, “All the great ones were great workers, untiring not only in invention but also in rejecting, sifting, reforming, arranging.” Industrial designer Mete Mordağ who has been designing products for 14 years with perseverance and rationality, epitomizes this thought. He pursues the unexceptional beauty and life-affirming design products.
Mete Mordağ, who has a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Bogazici University, began his drawing journey at very young ages. The drawings made by his family members shaped his life. Despite his interest in math and physics, during his college years, his basic familiarity with the pencil drawings turned into a grand passion involving brushes and huge paintings. When he realized that he could not set aside neither positive sciences nor drawing as a hobby, the question on his mind was “How can I bring those two together?”. He found out that the answer to this was the industrial design. Then, he took a 26-hour flight to Sydney and began a two-year Master's program in Industrial Design at New South Wales University. He returned to Istanbul in 2005. Since 2007, he has been creating lasting designs for brands from various sectors such as technology products, household items, kitchenware, accessories, furniture, diving equipment, architectural fittings, building sector, etc.
IN THE PURSUIT OF UNEXCEPTIONAL BEAUTY...
So, what is Mete Mordağ designing, what inspires him? He explains his journey as follows: “For me, the universe is proven to be a great expert in aesthetics, because its rational approach to the creation is flawless. All curves, connections, and measurements behind all the “unexceptional beauty” presented by the universe have very obvious reasons. Music, colors, forms... all of them have mathematics leading us to the truth and beauty. Design is obliged to learn and apply this mathematics in its own field. In this regard, I relentlessly pursue “unexceptional beauty” through this approach that I call rational art. Before drawing, I study any word, visual, and text associated
with the product or the function in question.
The forms or the ideas brought to my mind by these can lead the project to unbelievable directions. For a chair design that requires an aquatic theme, first, I sink objects underwater, then take them out and take photos of the shapes on the surface of the water. The design of a soup bowl, for example, starts by reading the history of the soup and researching the etymology of the word “soup”. Then I, suddenly, find myself pouring hot water on bread crumbs. These style-seeking techniques add a story to the creation process of the product, and thus significantly contribute to the marketing and launching activities later on.” Mete Mordağ
“DESIGN IS A MUST” A
ll products or product parts that we use every day to make our daily lives easier are actually industrial design products. The glass we use to drink water, our keyboard, chair, car, traffic signs, watch, thermometer, toys, glasses, bags... Design products make our lives more beautiful and easier, even if we don't notice it. This function they serve is not just because of their looks. Their looks not only makes an aesthetic contribution to our lives but also bring in elements such as functionality, ease of use, and ergonomics.
According to Mete Mordağ, a successful product is created when good design is combined with good engineering and good marketing. These three are simply inseparable. One has to think up, design, apply, and market a good idea. The technical and visual infrastructure established by the industrial design has a significant role in R&D processes and marketing of the product. Decreasing the number of the parts of the products, simplifying the technical details not only accelerate the application process but also increase the added value for the brand and for the users, directly affecting the price of the product. Whether technology or cosmetics oriented, the design has become a must in all sectors now.
SECRET OF SUCCESS: PERSEVERANCE AND RATIONALITY
One of the two guiding principles in Mordağ's career is perseverance. For Mordağ, the road to success in the creative arts field, as in many other fields, lies in trying again and again patiently until reaching the good. In this sense, he thinks that the concept of “waiting for inspiration” is just an excuse. He describes the creation process as not a passive but rather active process.
His second guiding principle is rationality. It is very important for him that every decision he makes during the designing process has a clear and rational reason. In this regard, he calls what he does rational art. “When you look at a good design, you can see the clear reasons of each detail on it” says Mordağ and adds: “The lines are added or removed from the product to make it more ergonomical, lighter, more practical or more hydrodynamic. You try to solve the problems you encounter in all design projects by means of geometry, physics, and material. If you have the right answers, the stunning visual beauty of your design becomes its most beautiful garnishment. Therefore, I believe that an object cannot look good or bad, but it can look right or wrong.”
ECONOMY, CONVENIENCE AND FUNCTIONALITY
Creating lasting designs for brands from various sectors such as technology products, household items, kitchenware, accessories, furniture, diving equipment, architectural fittings, building sector, etc. since 2007, Mordağ designed more than 100 products, and these products are accessible to users from 30 different countries. This wide range of products received awards from six different sectors. 25 of these projects resulted in patent products and ideas.
This is mostly because of the engineering behind the designs. Ghiordes home-kitchen set, which he designed for Plasart, is a perfect example where the value-added not only by innovation but also through the original aesthetics. The common textural details on these come from the knot, which was born in Ghiordes town in Aegean Region and became known as “Turkish knot” in the carpet weaving world. The first two parts of the set, the laundry basket, and bin were introduced in Ambiente Fair in Germany and broke a record, as 5 million orders were placed for the product. AsProfil dilatation system, which he designed for Asteknik, is a really good example showing the power of innovation.
Thanks to its special section designs, it uses 15 percent less aluminum than other standard dilatation profiles on the market. For a medium-size Shopping Mall project only, it saves 3 tons of aluminum. During the last decade, the product has created incredible advantages for the brand in construction tenders.
The patented neck design of the Bella plastic reservoir system ended the post-production problems about lid fitting, which was a common problem in the sector for years. The neck part of this design that is one of the most important patents in the reservoir market, also allows users to create different color combinations on the product. This feature earned a good design award and enabled the Nova brand to introduce a visual first to the market.
Being the creator of the industrial design of WeWALK, the smart walking stick developed by YGA (Young Guru Academy) and Vestel engineers for visually impaired people is always a great source of pride for Mordağ! Having revolutionary features such as obstacle detection, telephone integration, and open-source platform, WeWALK presented to the visually impaired users on last May. WeWALK, which received the Edison Gold Award, one of America's most prestigious awards in innovation, is integrated with Google Maps and Alexa voice assistant. It has a battery that can be charged via USB, an ultrasonic sensor that detects the obstacles, vibrating warning engines, as well as touchoperated surface and BlueTooth connection that allow the visually impaired to use it without holding their phones.
4 DIFFERENT SECTORS, 4 AWARDS
Mordağ received many awards during his successful career. He broke a record by winning with his products from the electronics, home-living, lighting, building-construction and kitchen sectors all 4 of the “Good Design Awards” in Design Turkey Industrial Design Awards, a part of the Design Turkey 2019 event, which was held for the eighth time this year. Design Turkey, which was organized and hosted by the Turkish Exporters Assembly under the coordination of the Ministry of Trade in order to make Turkey a trademark in design, brought together more than 100 speakers and 150, academics, students, and thousands of audience in 34 panels and conferences.
Mete Mordağ won all four awards with Capsule360 camera movement box which he designed for Miops and received a 600 thousand dollar Kickstarter funding; Skyroof Prestige bioclimatic pergola system which he designed for Palmiye; patented modular cooking group with 750 and 900 series for industrial kitchens, which he designed for Kayalar Mutfak; and the fastest Hybrid CNC Unit at its segment developed for dental clinics and laboratories, which he designed for Pole and Redon Teknoloji. Following this achievement, he continues to highlight the importance of the original design.
“WE HAVE MADE PROGRESS IN DESIGN”
Mordağ, who impresses the world with his designs, says that Turkey is better than we have thought in producing original designs and good ideas. And he is not wrong. During the last 25 years, Turkey has made great progress in this field. When we look at the top 20 countries in industrial design registration between 1980 and 2017, we see that Turkey entered the list in 1995. Following this, its rise continued. In 2008, Turkey outpaced countries such as Britain, Germany, Russia and entered among the top 5 counties, including countries such as China, Japan, and the USA. Mordağ, who says that we are really good at producing designs and ideas, adds: “However, I need to highlight the word industrial in the term industrial design. It seems that Turkey still needs to make more progress. It has a lot of experience in product development for foreign markets, on how the industrial design needs to be used.
This experience results from the fact that the brands have realized long before that the design is an irreplaceable parameter in terms of the value they present to the market. The scope of the briefing given to the designer, the way the marketing team manages the conceptual design process, its experience in practicing the aesthetic and innovative features with the users is more extended than Turkey's. Therefore, the product development process is progressing more efficiently and quickly.
This is an evolution process. I am quite certain that Turkey can reach and exceed this threshold in the next five or six years. We have the potential to be among the top 10 in the world with our ideas and imagination. If you say what about realizing these ideas and improving the current market conditions, I think the top 50 would be the right guess.