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How a Turkish Textile Designer went from WantedDesign’s Launch Pad to International Design Studio

How a Turkish Textile Designer went from WantedDesign’s Launch Pad to International Design Studio

Since its debut, Launch Pad at WantedDesign Manhattan has showcased almost 200 designers from dozens of countries. Turkish textile designer Begüm Cânâ Özgür is a prime example of Launch Pad’s raison d’etre, with her showing at Launch Pad 2016 resulting in a collection for reknowned rug brand nanimarquina and more.

Today, Studio Begüm Cânâ Özgür is a product and textile-oriented design studio based in Istanbul and New York, working with global brands. After receiving her masters degree in 2013 at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in the 3D design department, Begüm Cânâ Özgür (who goes by her middle name Cânâ) started her studio in Istanbul, where the cultural richness of the land proved to be a major inspiration for her work.

At Launch Pad 2016, Cânâ’s experience exemplified the program’s mission to introduce emerging designers to manufacturers. In addition to meeting jury members like Giulio Cappellini, she met Spanish designer Nani Marquina, who fell in love with her designs. Her collection for nanimarquina SHADE debuted during NYCxDESIGN 2017. She also exhibited with the Istanbul Design Collective at WantedDesign 2018.

Since Launch Pad, besides growing her design studio, Cânâ has been a TedX speaker, taught at the Parsons School of Design, had her work stocked by Design Within Reach and the Herman Miller Flagship Store in New York, and been featured in House Beautiful magazine amongst others.

We caught up with her recently, 5 years after she took part in Launch Pad at WantedDesign Manhattan.

WantedDesign (WD): Cânâ, can you tell us what you’ve been up to since you showed at Launch Pad? 

Begüm Cânâ Özgür: I continued developing new designs and showing them at global design events including Milan Design Week, London Design Week and the Stockholm Furniture Fair. So far, my focus has been on hand weaving and the traditional weaving culture in Turkey. I have been collaborating with traditional women weavers in the villages of Turkey for the production of the handwoven rug designs I create for my namesake brand.

Recently, we collaborated with Revival and two new rug designs I developed for them will be launching soon. I also made a move to NYC, and started teaching at Parsons School of Design. Right now, I spend half of my time in Istanbul and half of it in NY, enjoying the diverse culture of the two cities.

Haze by Studio Begüm Cânâ Özgür

WD: What are you working on now? What’s next for you?

Cânâ: As I continue designing and producing new rugs and weavings, I am also working on small scale furniture pieces that incorporate my studies in texture and surface design on three dimensional forms. Another project that I am working on is commissioned by Istanbul Modern Museum Shop. Among other great Turkish designers, I am working on a product design to take place in the first design collection of the shop curated by Doğanberk Demir.  It is an exciting opportunity for me to continue my explorations on color, graphic, and surface design on a different medium than textile.

Begüm Cânâ Özgür

WD: Anything else you’d like to add about your experience exhibiting with WantedDesign?

Cânâ: Other than meeting with nanimarquina, I made some good press contacts which helped me to reach out to a wider audience even months after the show. It was also great to meet with fellow designers of my generation who were showing their work. After so many years, we are still in touch with some of them and collaborate for projects.

WD: What are your favorite design experiences or spots in NYC?

Cânâ: My favorite spots to find inspiration in NYC are MoMA and some great bookstores. I love spending time at Rizzoli Bookstore and digging the shelves of Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Thank you, Begüm, for updating us on your work. People can find out more about Studio Begüm Cânâ Özgür at:

“Begüm’s work reflects her passion for beautiful craft and people, and is nourished by her multicultural background and life between Turkey and the USA. She is super talented, passionate and is putting so much into her designs. We are extremely happy that her path crossed Nani Marquina’s when she was part of Launch Pad at WantedDesign back in 2016. That’s exactly the kind of success story we love and the reason why we started the Launch Pad program.”

Odile Hainault and Claire Pijoulat, WANTEDDESIGN co-founders

Launched in 2014, Launch Pad at WantedDesign Manhattan is a platform for emerging designers who wish to make connections with manufacturers and retailers. Each year, a jury of industry professionals reviews the exhibited work to select a Best of Launch Pad prize in the categories of Lighting and Furniture/Accessories.

Apply for Launch Pad 2021: The deadline for Launch Pad 2021 at WantedDesign Manhattan, Nov 14-15, at the Javits Center in NYC is August 15th. Apply now or contact info@wanteddesignnyc.com

By contributing editor Charlene Lam

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