Stoa Design
By Shonquis Moreno / Published by Dwell
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A philosophical designer based in Beyoğlu relies on handicraft, woodworking, and the universal meaning of nature.
Aesthetically, Stoa eschews dainty in favor of raw, rugged, and industrial. A chain mail–like armchair is made from stainless steel assembly-line components, while his wind chimes and sculptures incorporate found machine parts (even a massive iron drill).

Aesthetically, Stoa eschews dainty in favor of raw, rugged, and industrial. A chain mail–like armchair is made from stainless steel assembly-line components, while his wind chimes and sculptures incorporate found machine parts (even a massive iron drill).

Tardu Kuman says his work is strongly rooted in classical thought: “In philosophy, the same concepts have been reinterpreted since ancient times,” he says. “Wood and metal have been in our lives since then; they are the same materials, but you can always express something new.” Photo by: Serkan Taycan

Tardu Kuman says his work is strongly rooted in classical thought: “In philosophy, the same concepts have been reinterpreted since ancient times,” he says. “Wood and metal have been in our lives since then; they are the same materials, but you can always express something new.” Photo by: Serkan Taycan

Tardu Kuman spent a lot of time thinking about things before he began making them. In college in Istanbul, he studied philosophy—Heraclitus, Nietzsche, Deleuze. Becoming a full-fledged designer happened gradually and took him full-circle from mid-1980s Paris, where he made jewelry, to 1990s Athens, where he made art objects and furniture out of salvaged railroad ties, and finally, in 1995, back to Istanbul to found Stoa Design.

Today, traditional craftsmanship may be suffering locally, but it creates an opportunity for makers like Kuman to practice old methods with a modern touch. He incorporates new forms to show the ability of natural materials, like the hot metal he pours into knots set in wooden tabletops. “In this complicated life, I want to make things simple,” Kuman says. “My work doesn’t belong to a time, a trend, a fashion. It has the weight of honesty.”

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