Erdem Akan, the enfant terrible of Turkish design, loves joining opposites. Natural with artificial, technological with artisan, reality with dreams. And especially "east" with "west". This is a characteristic that he shares with his native city, Istanbul, where old juxtaposes with the new. Design to him means taking a contradiction and working it into an unexpected balance, or perhaps magnifying the tension to obtain an unforeseen result. Akan delights in combining different cultures and subject areas, playing with clichés and defying convention to pursue an idea that is always personal and born of the moment. He wants to provoke, make you think, express emotion.
In 2013 Akan launched e*rdemakan -as a design and manufacturing brand of accessories and furnitures, where he can reflect his unique vision in design and experience in craftsmanship. e*accessories are handmade design objects from istanbul, and aims to give a new twist and iconic look to turkish souvenirs. e*furnitures explores how to be modern and emotional at the same time in the living spaces. Both collections are results of his "think as much as possible eastern, till it looks western" approach.
Erdem Akan is a designer, design manager, curator, lecturer and co-founder of maybedesign and co-founder of BOxER Design&Strategy. But rather than these, Akan prefers to be called a visionary, who blends cultures and disciplines. In spite of, his broad educational background includes degrees in mechanical engineering, industrial design and design management, Akan believes in his self taught design spirit. His unique design approach is both aesthetically sensitive and style conscious. Rather than these, Akan is driven by ideas and creativity.
Erdem Akan was born (1973), and followed his studies, in Istanbul - Turkey, He graduated from Bosphorus University with a BSc. degree in Mechanical Engineering. British Council Chevening scholarship and his desire for creativity brought him to University of Salford in Manchester, where he received his Industrial Design Masters degree. He completed his design studies with Design Culture and Management Programme in Istanbul Bilgi University.
From 1996 to 2001 he has undertaken several design and coordination activities for commercial vehicle projects at Ford Motor Company Design Studios in Istanbul (Turkey), Dunton (England) and Dearborn (United States). From 2001 to 2004 Akan worked as the design manager for Gaia & Gino (Istanbul).
Between 2004-2012, he worked within “maybedesign” with his partners in Istanbul and Vienna, in various fields from art to engineering, from product design to architecture. Together with maybedesign, they launched maybeshop - the first retail design store in istanbul, which functioned as a showcase and platform for emerging designers as well as prominent designers. The unique spirit and product selection of maybeshop reflected Akan’s “maybe design, maybe art” philosophy and multidisciplinary approach.
In 2012 he co-founded BOxER -a cutting edge design company, focusing on strategic design to increase innovative and competitive qualities of their customers. The name BOxER is an acronym of its co-founders Bogac Simsir, Erdem Akan and multiplication of their visions, skills and experiences.
In 2012 he has been awarded by Elle Décor as Designer of the year Turkey. Akan delivers high concept interiors and collections for his clients, curates design exhibitions, lectures design at universities and seminars. Akan’s designs have been featured in Wallpaper, New York Times Style Magazine, Interni, Elle Décor and I.D., among many others.
Nature of Design Design Exhbition, 2010 – Addresistanbul
Morphing Archetypes, Cooperative Project, 2010 - Old Galata Bridge IDW
OOPS Design Exhibition, 2009 – Istanbul Culinary Institute, Pera IDW
Prince of Orient Design Exhibition, 2008, Hofmobiliendepot, Vienna
Dream Mug Starbucks 5th year Design Exhibition, 2008 – Kanyon Shopping Mall
XXXDesign Design Exhibition, 2007 – Old Galata Bridge, Istanbul Design Week
Notikea Design Exhibition, 2007 - Piramit Art Gallery
ABÇ Design Exhibition / AlibabaDesignLab, 2005 - Derin& Cağla Cabaoğlu Gallery
Design&Recycle Design Exhibition, 2005 - İstanbul Modern Arts Gallery
Empati Lighting Exhibition / Proje Tasarlatır, 2002 - Hilton Convention Center
Anahtar Al Hotel Accessories Design Exhibition / Proje Tasarlatır, 2003 - CNR
Destination Istanbul MoMA, 2011 NY
BarbarBook Design Exhibiton 2011, Istanbul
Spagat Design Exhibition Marta Museum, 2011 Herford Germany
Otherwise Istanbul Design Exhibition 2010 Weimar, Milan Istanbul
Design Spirit Istanbul 2010, Istanbul
Transparency Design Exhibition Kale Tasarım Merkezi, 2010 Canakkale
Barbarlight Design Exhibition 2009, IDW
Sitbag&Relax Design Exhibition 2009, Beymen Blender, Istanbul
Turkish Delight Design Exhibition 2008, Pergamomom Museum, Berlin
Turkish Touch in Design 2007, Milano
Barbar Banquet 2007, Old Galata Bridge,
Wallpaper Global Edit 2006, Milano
Manifatura /Bilgi Üniversitesi Sanat & Tasarım Projesi 2007 - IMC
+/- istanbul, 2006 – Food Culture from Istanbul, IDW
Somatasala, 2005 – Food Culture in Sufism, IDW
FachHochSchule Nordwestschweiz NW Institut Industrial Design - Switzerland
Prominent Member - Guest Lecturer
PARSONS, The New School For Design, New York
"The Global Issues in Design & Visuality in the 21st Century" 2008
Art Center HUARTE - Spain
"Turkish Reforms" project presentation 2008
Bilgi University İstanbul
Design Culture & Management – Design Management Project Lessons since 2006
Anadolu University, Eskişehir
Industrial Design Dpt, Studio Lectures, Experimental Design Lectures since 2008
Yeditepe University, Istanbul
Industrial Design Dept., lectured from 2005-2006