Nothing inspires me more than a majestic home and a good story. My last post, titled “Topkapi Palace: How Women Exercised Power In An Age Of Absolute Male Dominance”, falls perfectly into this category. Topkapi harem, with its unique architecture, has inspired today’s post: a modern kitchen concept with Ottoman influences.
My mind naturally goes to thoughts of working on a kitchen concept as I am, right now, obsessed with kitchen design as it is an imminent phase in our French fixer-upper project. The idea, however, can be applied to other spaces like a boudoir, bedroom or living room, as long as simple steps are followed.
Not only does this modern interpretation of Ottoman heritage reflect the beauty of Islamic style, but it can also take mainstream kitchens to another level (thinking of IKEA), as we often struggle to give them an identity. Here, traditional and contemporary are carefully fused together with a vision in mind: achieve a modern, sophisticated Islamic Ottoman style.
Ottoman heritage is rich and complex, and inspiration can be found in various cultural treasures: Ottoman architecture, caftan fabrics and Iznik ceramics, to name but a few. Turkish history, with Istanbul at its heart, is colorful, multilayered and deeply rooted in highly skilled craftsmanship. Plenty to work with.
(The red miniature is a 23K gold plated illustration on handmade paper, created by The artist Onur Hastürk)
Let’s break down my concept board:
1 – THE COLOR SCHEME:
The chosen color scheme, based on neutral, deep red and cobalt blue tones, sets the overall look of our kitchen concept. I have used some of Iznik tiles as a color palette guide to initiate the creative process. Neutral walls and off-white Ikea Bodbyn kitchen cabinets complement this color palette, and help highlight special features such as tiled panels, marble splashbacks, gold fixtures and natural wood floors. I would go for glass top cabinets as they fit well with vivid traditional themes.
2 – THE MUST-HAVE ART TILE: IZNIK TILES
Iznik tiles, a flagship element in Ottoman architecture, decorated royal mosques and palaces in the 15th and 16th centuries. These are meticulously designed, hand-painted and hand-glazed tiles, embellished with colorful motifs and intricate, fine details. A true artist’s work. Original tiles, panels and dishes can be seen in the MET and Louvre museums. Of course, nothing compares to the experience of seeing Iznik tiles in their original environment: Topkapi Palace or Süleymaniye Mosque. Fortunately, contemporary Turkish tile artists have been constantly working at reviving this precious art, so we can introduce them into our homes.
I particularly like the tulip motifs. Here is a selection of my favourite tile designs. Available here: www.iznikcini.com
Handmade Iznik tiles are considered high-end products. So, I would use them as a focal point, for the cooker, paired with marble finished splashback and countertop. The use of marble is a gentle nod to the Queen Mother’s bathroom inside Topkapi Palace.
3 – GOLD ACCENTS FOR A DASH OF SOPHISTICATION:
Above all, Ottomans lived in richly decorated spaces with gold-leaf embroidery and impressive golden metalwork, and we want a piece of that. So, I would introduce a dash of luxury with gold finished kitchen fixtures, door handles, cabinet knobs and glass pendant lights.
4 – ARABIC CALLIGRAPHY:
Ottomans perfected Arabic calligraphy, the art where the written word is at its highest aesthetic form. Arabic inscriptions were dedicated to Sultans to mark their official consecration and were placed in highly visible areas decorating walls and main entrances. I would use ceramic plates decorated with Arabic calligraphy as a homage to that royal grandeur.
5 – DETAILS THAT MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE:
If a kitchen is blessed with space, I would add velvet upholstery on stools and chairs, rugs and arabesque panels, modern Turkish wall art and porcelaine tableware. Choice is infinite. One thing to keep in mind though, is that motifs and patterns should be carefully mixed and matched.
These plates are available here: www.iznikcini.com
I hope you liked this post,