Photographs from The Marmara Hotels & Residences
The Marmara Hotels and Residences are comprised of sophisticated lodgings that are known for their delicate balance of style, with The Marmara Şişli, a deluxe four-star hotel that is located in Mecidiyeköy, being their example of vintage-inspired modern flair meets industry. Steps away from business centers, arts, shopping, and vivacious Turkish living, this hotel features 107 rooms that combine unique architectural 1950’s style with modern details. The hotel sports a fitness room that is equipped with cardiovascular and weight control equipment, a lobby lounge, complimentary wireless Internet access, satellite television, minibars, scales, hair dryers, and 3 meeting halls. Close to two main airports and walking distance from the local subway station, this hotel is convenience, style and modernity, wrapped into one.
The penthouse suites of the hotel have all been designed as train compartments with a narrow hall and cozy bed with a TV at the foot. Can you talk about the decision to go in this direction?
These rooms are designed for the people who may have a crowded staff or who do a lot of traveling on a limited budget. With these needs in mind, the layout was divided into smaller sections. These small but comfortable rooms have an attractive advantage: the beautiful Istanbul view.
I see a lot of vintage flair in the rooms with the 1950’s inspired furnishings and colors. How did the team handle the merging of this vintage feel with a contemporary modern touch? Was this to be reflected mainly in the furnishing style or the color palette as well?
The parameters that we considered while designing the hotel and it's components, is the feel of reality and present time; cost, target group and the touches of Istanbul's past were also considerations. The building was renovated not rebuilt, and we started by peeling the building walls, a method that is inspired by the architectural movement of “brutalism”. We chose furniture that had a taste of Istanbul. The whole interior and façade was finished by merging these elements together in order to give a new experience to the hotel's clients and guests.
Aside from the amazing views of the city, some other highlights in the square rooms include long wooden shutters and TV sets mounted to a stainless steel pole rather than set on a console or armoire. What was the influence for that decision? Was it a reference to a traveling career oriented lifestyle or more about keeping things clean, uncluttered, and unique?
People who travel a lot know how hard of a task it is to feel at home in a hotel room. The clean and uncluttered environment was planned to provide a practical place to put your staff and for them to gather easily without missing anything that may lie behind the closed cabinets. These wooden shutters were commonly used in the old Istanbul houses. Because this is a temporary space for the hotel's clients, we created a warm feeling, but still kept it practical and easy to use!
Let’s talk about the ceilings in the square rooms. They look like raw beams with a mural of sorts overlaid in white paint. The light fixtures are interesting too. Can you talk about the treatment for your ceilings? Were you going for a loft-type feel?
Let’s say that the rooms have a loft-type feel but don't follow a particular trend. The initial story and concept that we created in the beginning was our main focus.
Top: An interior view of one of the 88 Square rooms in the hotel
I love the sinks in the Nano rooms with the simple chrome fixtures! Did you work with local vendors for your components or were these shipped in from elsewhere?
We got them from a well-known local brand called Vitra. They put their products into production as we need them, but not for this particular model.
Top: The bathroom in one of the Nano rooms with Vitra chrome fixtures
As with the furnishings and fixtures, the walls are also simple and uncluttered, I don’t see a lot of art on the walls. Was the focus to keep a clean, unified look throughout the hotel?
Both material and forms were chosen with the public in mind and their many varying tastes. For this reason, we kept the decorative elements as simple as possible.
Above top, middle and bottom: The Marmara Şişli Lobby Lounge interior
Your lobby lounge at the entrance of the hotel serves as the hotel’s dining area and the offerings are a mix of international and Turkish cuisine that maintain a 1950’s modernized flair. Is this also reflected in the choice of tabletop for this area?
We wanted an unconventional lobby with a different organization for the restaurant and the reception area, but we wanted the ambiance to be striking with the pipes and concrete bars. To turn the lobby into a lively public area, a concrete bar was placed near the main entrance and was surrounded by the1950s-style tables and armchairs. As a result, the welcoming entrance exudes warmth and is reminiscent of a local pub atmosphere. All of this puts a new spin on the ordinary meeting room and hotel reception room.
For new travelers to the hotel and the city itself, what are a few highlights of the city that should not be missed?
Bosphorus: historic quarter of the city, galata, beyoğlu
Galleries: Garanti Art Gallery, Galerist, İstanbul Modern,
Public places: The House Cafe İstinye, Ortaköy, Nişantaşı ; Müzedechanga
Clubs: Anjelik, OttoSantral, Babylon
Autoban, established in 2003, operates from an office in Galata, Istanbul’s historic quarter. From the tall guillotine windows of their office, the team has panoramic views of the beautiful Bosphorus and the historic Galata Tower.
Autoban designs and develops interior environments for commercial and residential purposes. In fact, they designed most of the trendy cafes and casual-chic clothing stores in Istanbul. Autoban considers each interior project as ‘a story to be told’. Their unique style and approach is born from a joy for mixing the traditional with the contemporary.
In addition to creating spaces, Autoban also designs products. They approach product design as ‘an exploration of natural and raw materials in new contexts’. Their first furniture prototypes were made from plywood, which provided the freedom for experimentation due to its low cost and the way it “formed in the mould like magic”. Every Autoban product has a unique character, reflecting both designers’ playful approach to “almost cliché” items. The designers cite the material and its capabilities as the inspiration for each design, but as the product names imply, Autoban’s designs are also highly influenced by nature and the rituals of daily life. Autoban products are best summarised as emotionally expressive, visually inspiring objects with a timeless, pleasure-to-live-with quality.
Over the past few years, Autoban has received a number of international design awards including being named “Best Young Designers” by Wallpaper magazine. The team is proud of their awards, as well as their widespread coverage in numerous design periodicals from around the world, now piling under the office desk! For that, Autoban says, “A massive thank you to everyone for their great support!”
At the end of 2006, Autoban opened their gallery simply named the "Autoban Gallery", which showcases the best of their continually developing designs, that is, items in limited edition. With the new brand called "Autoban and De La Espada", entered the retail sector in 2007, aiming to reach every Autoban lovers on the world.
2008 EDIDA Turkey
2008 Design Turkey Awards
2007 EDIDA Turkey
2006 Wallpaper Best Restaurant Award – MüzedeChanga Restaurant
2005 Blueprint Best New Comer
2005 Blueprint Bursary Winner
2004 Wallpaper Best Young Designers
2008 100% Design, London
2008 Milano / Zona Tortona
2007 100% Design, London
2006 ICFF New York
2006 100% Design, London
2005 ICFF New York
2005 100% Design London
2005 Maison & Obje, Paris
2004 AD Design Fair, İstanbul
2004 Saloon du Meuble, Paris
To Contact Autoban:
Tatarbey s.No.1 Galata 34425 Istanbul Turkey
Fax: +90212 243 8640
Mesrutiyet Cad.No.64/A 34430 Tunel Istanbul Turkey
Fax: +90 212 252 6795
To contact The Marmara Şişli Hotel:
The Marmara Şişli Hotel
Ortaklar cad. no: 30 Mecidiyeköy 34384 Istanbul Turkey
Phone: 90 212 370 94 00 (Pbx)
Fax: 90 212 292 33 15
Written by Ehren Seeland