Hulya Kupcuoglu: Jacob de Baan ‘Design has a huge impact on society’

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Hülya Küpçüoğlu: Primarily, I would like to ask the stages  of the creation of the exhibition?

Giorgio Caione: As PASAJ we invited Jacob de Baan to think of a possible exhibition in our space. Our practice is marked by “social engaged art”, with a strong connection to our neighbourhood (Tarlabaşı). So we tried to connect Jacob’s design with our experience and we found this interesting concept of “Transition(s)”…

Jacob de Baan: The name of Pasaj means passenger. I feel like a passenger in Istanbul. My wife and me, we live in Istanbul for 2 years now. In July we will leave. So the title ‘Transition(s) fits the message.

 Giorgio Caione

H.K.: How do we perceive the “transitions”?

G.C.: Everybody is in “transition”. Different places, moods, lights… Jacob is a passenger because he lives between Amsterdam and Istanbul, but everybody has similar experiences in their daily life. Tarlabaşı is a perfect place for transitions: Once it was home for Greek, Armenians, Jews; more recently Kurds, Roma people, Anatolian migrants; and nowadays Syrian refugees. What we are interested in, is to connect simple but significant transitions such as light transitions, with a wider and metaphorical meaning.


H.K.: How do the artist  place the the trasition of light in this new exhbition.

J.B.: Most of the lamps that I show are developed in Istanbul. Together with Gizem Akat, we went through numerous steps: from understanding the natural light circumstances in Istanbul to moodboards and sketches and first proptotypes through final designs.

I try to show the process in the presentation.


H.K.: As the city of İstanbul has been always under transitions , where is the intersection point in the exhibition and where does it separate?

G.C.: Istanbul is a perfect counterpart for our show. Actually we are more focused on Tarlabaşı district and its people. Most of Tarlabaşı inhabitants were not born in Istanbul, and many of them probably will move out. Jacob’s lamps are made of loose parts that come together to make the lamp-object or can easily be packed in a flat “pizza box”: ready to move out like people in Istanbul.

J.B.: I am a traveler, people in Tarlabasi are travelers, I take the lamps part all the time between my studio in Amsterdam as well as in Istanbul.. in flat boxes..

In fact they are mobile lamps usefull for people on in travel.
H.K.: Are there other programs during the Project, could you please tell about them?

G.C.: The whole event has been conceived as an unique organism made of three parts: Exhibition in PASAJ Studio (the main location), exhibition in PASAJ Tarlabaşı (the small corner restaurant that has been transformed in a contemporary art venue. It’s like our “vitrine”!), and two workshops with kids of Tarlabaşı in which they will design a new lamp starting from their thoughts and desires. The children lamp will be produced and it will be on show during the last week of our show.

Jacob de Baan

H.K.: How do you consider the rapprochement of Art-Design under the concepts of aesthetic and function?

J.B.: Art and design are related on many levels. I feel like caught in the middle. Design has a huge impact on society and on great questions of our time. As well I believe in team work. I would love to do a project with both artists as well as designers.

‘ArtDesign’ or ‘Sanaatasarim’!


H.K.: As last would you like to add anything else?

J.B.: A great joy to collaborate with Pasaj. For me it feels like a real home. I will always come back here!


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