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Interview with Maryam Turkey: One week life changing workshop at Boisbuchet

Interview with Maryam Turkey: One week life changing workshop at Boisbuchet

Domaine de Boisbuchet is a unique, off-the-wall design destination situated on the French countryside. Each year Boisbuchet organizes a series of interdisciplinary workshops where students and professionals from all over the world come together for a week of experimental work with renowned designers, architects and artists. WantedDesign was excited to partner with the organization to offer the opportunity for one design student to take part in a Boisbuchet’s Summer Workshop in 2017. The winner of the giveaway was a young Brooklyn-based designer, Maryam Turkey. She was flown to Paris thanks to French airline XL Airways. Maryam recently returned from her week at Boisbuchet where she participated in the Sabine Marcelis “Exploring Light” workshop.

Maryam shared with us what seems to have been a life changing experience, one that will be a real source of inspiration as she is starting her career as a designer.

Can you give us a quick background about yourself and your path until now?
I am a recent Pratt Institute graduate from the industrial design department. Throughout my education at Pratt, my focus has been on innovation and problem solving in the areas of social design and human-centered design. Because I grew up in Iraq and took the journey as a refugee to the United States, I always find myself trying to find solutions to problems that affect people around the world and I try to narrow down the issue to a product or a system that is designed to improve the lives of a large population. On the other hand, I am also interested in material exploration and design that requires me to work with my hands, which I did not explore enough at Pratt, which made Domaine de Boisbuchet very appealing to me.

Why did you apply to the Boisbuchet + WantedDesign contest and what was your expectation in going there?
I applied to the contest because I was intrigued by the description of Boisbuchet. The idea of spending a week in nature with beautiful architecture and exploring a kind of design that I have never really done before sounded like a dream. I expected it to be a unique experience and I also expected that I would come back inspired and have added a new design technique and process to my design palette.

Can you describe in few lines the workshop you were part of? The set up, the process, and the project you achieved?

I was part of a workshop called “Exploring Light,” by the mentor Sabine Marcelis. We were all so amazed by the nature and architecture at Boisbuchet that we decided to explore light and draw inspiration from our surroundings. All of the participants were inspiring and friendly so we naturally formed groups based on our energy and ideas, which is something I have never experienced in a group project before. The first day was mainly exploring with materials without thinking, the goal was to discover unique results that could lead to a potential project. We explored plexi glass, filters, parts of nature and the sun light. After we did a lot of small experiments we then talked about which direction we could go to turn the experiments into group projects.

The project I worked on was solely inspired by the nature and the Japanese house at Boisbuchet. My teammates and I worked with logs and plexi glass. We split a few logs in half and added a sheet of plexi glass in the middle or off center. One side of the plexi illuminates when the sunlight is directly hitting the other side. The logs function as stools and as a light source. The idea behind it is that we are using nature (logs) to serve additional function, but the additional function is done by nature (sun). We also tested a lot of other reflective materials to put under the plexi glass to reflect the sunlight and create a gradient.

What inspired you the most there?
Is there something that you learned during that week that you woudln’t have learned anywhere else?
It is hard to say what inspired me the most, I think it was a mixture of the location, the wonderful people I got to work with and the positive energy that was there.
I learned a few things about myself that I don’t think I would have learned anywhere else or anytime soon; I learned that sometimes I have to let go of some thoughts and really just be inspired by my surrounding and create. I learned that my happiness as a designer lays between problem solving and hand work that doesn’t have to solve a problem but adds a purpose, a unique experience or a new idea that can inspire people. Sometimes it can be just me putting my energy on a physical thing that I create. And I learned that sometimes simple and natural work comes out the best.

What is your dream project or career?
My dream career is to lead a studio that does both innovative social design and contemporary product design. Since I find the combination these two areas to be my true passion. I would love to help and inspire people using design as a tool.