Modern-day Silk's road.

A talk with Ipek Demircioglu.

I believe names (and words), bear a strong impact on the way we are destined to be directed in life. Ipek means [silk] in Turkish. Word of which connected and been floating between East and West, pushed people to travel, visit distant areas of the orient; evidently related to design, craft, and beauty, fragility, and possibilities. Suchwise, Ipek is following her own modern-day silk road, innovated and ever-changing upon the way. The road she will be letting us in during this talk. She's not only a talented designer but most remarkably a deep thinker therefore, I am delighted to share these honest conversations.

As she inspires me, I believe this (note, not an interview, but more of a formal...) talk will serve as a muse for us involved in art or any other spheres alike.

Please tell us a little bit about your background and your current occupation?

I’ve started my interior architecture education at the jazzy and frozen city of Chicago. There was a vigorous conceptual approach within all the departments of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The instructors were really pushing the limits of asking critical questions to students thus educating the creative minds in conceptual and research-based art and design thinking and making. After two and a half years in Chicago, I transferred to Girne American University in Northern Cyprus and completed my degree at the divided island, which was a mind-blowing shift. Northern Cyprus is geography of its own, an unrecognized country. It is way different than the USA or the rest of the world in every aspect. With the good sides, the whole “Zen” island is rich and authentic with the historic limestone buildings, Mediterranean, Ottoman, and British Colonial architectural texture. Surprisingly, I was more inspired at this cute and weird island. After graduation, I moved to Amsterdam for interning for great design studios. Following a year in the creative hub of Amsterdam, I went back to Cyprus and made a lot of research about MA degrees in Europe. I increasingly became interested in the big data, the internet of things, emerging technologies and innovation. After a year of short interior design career in Kyrenia, I just moved to London to study at UAL, London College of Communication MA in Interaction Design Communication. I have been changing a lot of cities since 2014 which makes me a kind of nomad of the 2010s I suppose. Still, this blue planet is endless to explore!

Would you share locations of the world that shaped and reshaped you? In which way they did?

I am predicting the very individual human him/her-self is the catalyzer for change. Our inner spaces and experiences, whatever they shape us, create us, break us apart and re-construct us. I’ve realized within the last year that it is not about where we go, it is rather what thoughts we bring together with us… Cliché but you can’t run away from yourself, your inner location or destination. Good news is you can become aware of where you’re heading to, for me that’s the start of change. If I will talk about the external world, I believe every city I lived within brought another dimension to my inner planet. Because I am half Cypriot [my mom is from Nicosia] Kyrenia always had a special meaning to me. Kyrenia is a city of refreshment with its greenery up in the mountains and sandy beaches inhabited by Caretta turtle babies. I experience nature to the fullest there. Always inspired, feeling calm and enjoying my solitary in our family house in the mountains – doing lots of brainstorming, reading, writing and sketching… Istanbul as my hometown is my base, my roots are all in that amazing vibrant city where Eastern meets Western culture. I am grateful for being from Istanbul. Finally, Amsterdam brought a deeply creative and intellectual side of mine more alive then ever. I have a deep thrive to learn, get into conversations about art/design, understand different kinds of people whilst spreading smiles. The world is beautiful when we decide to smile at it, isn’t it?

Your thoughts on: The phenomenon of human creativity as a major effective part of the profession and business.

Human creativity is a subject that has always been inspected and researched about deeply. I read a lot about human creativity and past creative geniuses. Some of the interesting books I can recommend are Wired to Create and Sparks of Genius, where some scientific info is presented and analyzed about renown creative people of the history. Being alone and getting in touch with your feelings is crucial to get the true creative genius out of you. Harmony between creativity and business is a tricky one because to find that balance between your inspiration and the real design world is perhaps not so easy at the beginning or at least for me. Apparently, creativity is boosted when one is relaxed, healthy and happy. Especially in the corporate design world, where designers are now the modern-day mental laborers, it seems like a harsh process to find that harmony between your creativity, self-confidence and psychological well-being throughout the creative career. If one wants to become an independent designer, perhaps it is tricky to find one’s own voice within the field. Everyone is different, yet we all have the base of the similarly vibrating feelings. I find this enchanting. I believe best of creativity comes out when one understands their selves. You just do what drives you and that is a natural process, which is a long way to go because it takes time to understand and get to know your inner creativity. Human creativity with our complex and layered feelings is a long subject to explore. Knowing life is long enough to embrace that is a bright feeling.

Which of life happenings made you decide on the path you are following right now?

After getting my BA in Interior Architecture, I went to Amsterdam to start my internship with the renown Dutch designer Marcel Wanders. Even though I loved the office environment, what I was learning there, the talented designers and all the creative design delivery process I knew that building concepts for luxury interiors and high-end clients was not for me. There are many issues that us designers need to shed light onto such as bringing new solutions to make our Earth breath, raise awareness on how we can live in more alternative sustainable ways and reconnect human and nature through design. I believe we can spread light onto any issue that we think can bring awareness on. Innovative thinking is new-age design thinking.

Being a persona of one or several art spheres we get inspired by many other themes or currents. Such as philosophy, publicism, linked art spheres, or even politics for example. Which of them have an impact on you, why and could you share ones worth taking a look at?

I think of philosophy. As further as I can remember, I have always been interested in subjects of consciousness, the subconscious mind, life, death, human experience, and existence. Most probably in my MA, I will be experimenting with human experience through the use of certain technologies. Can technology re-connect us with our thoughts and insights? I want to dive into some bold questions and re-create certain experiences that we might be skipping in the digital age. Could you say what made you feel confident about your own big decisions?

I don’t know how to answer that question subtly because intuition is a whispering noise. In order to grasp it within a tiny moment, it is crucial to master the skill of silencing your mind. The only way to silence your thoughts is to understand them. In today’s social media-focused and the attention-seeking world, I assume it is not very easy to do that. There is an overload of distraction and information in our hands and mental spaces. Always stimulated by screens, are we really hearing out ourselves? In a year in Cyprus, I had no chance but to dive into meditation and yoga a few levels deeper. I assure you a part of me died in the mountains out of boredom and stuck feelings, but I would recommend embracing that to everyone.

Balancing between your own goals and the pace of life what helped you harmonize your inner clock?

The inner clock is always ticking, and that is natural. Thoughts come in like waves, even the strongest ones. If you let them hit the shore, they will find their way through the sand. I am not saying that I don’t have ambitions and desires, that is with me. The tricky part is I know there is always more to it, if only we appreciate now can we be fulfilled in that “one day” scenario. Goals are for everyone I guess, in this hyper-productive age. Sarcastically if you want to achieve them, let them go first, and then you will be free. Waves keep coming through… I guess I fell in love with this process.


Intuition or logic? Intuition. To quote Einstein “Experience is the only information” and I believe pure experience brings intuition together. Which is not as easy as to experience than just to write it down or tell it. [information or logic is only some encryption in my opinion]

East or west? Even though I’ve traveled to the west more, I will say East. Turkey is also in the Middle East, Cyprus is very oriental. There is something mystical about Eastern cultures. I am sure there is another world in Japan, China or Vietnam.

City or town? Whenever I go back to the city, I miss the town or the village and vice versa. Chasing continues until you stop chasing I guess. Do you get it? I practice stopping to chase in my daily experiences very much.

Laptop or handcraft? I will say handcraft, machine work still can have a non-human and cold feel with the outcome. Still, I am very interested in new digital visual production techniques and I am impressed with how much we have improved. Many designers question architectural digital drawing and photorealistic renders with what they provide. Some say they do not represent the real environment and design appears unrealistic and dramatic. From another point, I personally like to see different styles coming out from computer-generated drawings as well. Architectural drawing is coming back as never before because of the improved software. Definitely, machines help us create rigorous design concepts, which is an important improvement in possibilities offered by design. Still, my heart skips a beat when I see a perfectly sketched hand drawing of scenery in Venice or the paintings of past geniuses. I guess we have a different kind of creative genius at the digital age. It is always nice to adapt and transform in certain ways.

(Latest) portion of wisdom? Stop trying to be happy and you will become. Chasing too hard after something, success, happiness, ideal relationship doesn’t make the desired outcome happen, it is just the opposite. Within the last year, I’ve tried to find a design job in Europe so much that I ended up exhausted by the recurring thought and finally I had to cease trying. Stopping felt weird and unnatural. We forgot to stay still as digitally unconscious societies. Nature sometimes appears as it stands still, yet it is vibrating and moving at the same time. To discover the freedom of just being is amazing.

(Latest) inspiration? A deeply inspirational novel I’ve read recently is The Dandelion Insurrection by Riviera Sun. The novel with a beautiful language narrates the story of Zadie and Charlie, two courageous hearts starting a resurrection in America with a non-violent philosophy. Her ideology will move every reader, to quote her “Be kind, be connected, be unafraid!”

Ipek's website: