Cultural richness of the Aegean Region is being conveyed to the walls. While the construction of new building of Izmir Chamber of Commerce is gathering steam, the symbols of abundance, prosperity, and peace is reflected on the walls via elbow grease. A team of 15, led by Asst. Prof. Dr. Duygu Ebru Öngen Corsini, Lecturer at Department of Fashion and Textile Design, Faculty of Arts and Design, Izmir University of Economics (IUE), is finely engraving the motives of grapes, figs, olives, daffodils and hyacinths, and the anthemion, which meant hosting guests in ancient periods.
The mythological hybrid, “griffon”, a legendary creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion which represents knowledge, wisdom, and the sky, and known for guarding treasure, will also be among the wall art as part of the “Izmir Chamber of Commerce New Service Building Surface Design Applications Project” carried out within IUE Design Research and Application Center (EKOTAM). Asst. Prof. Dr. Corsini, who gave information about the project, said that they carried out the project together with Soner Göksay, Jovita Sakalauskaite, Duygu Kocabaş Atılgan, Lecturers from IUE Faculty of Arts and Design, and team of students from Dokuz Eylül University.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Corsini indicated that wall art was not commonly used inside the buildings in Turkey and that they made a difference with this project by creating special border designs for ground floor and first and second floors. “All designs were outcome of a sense of collection. The marble used in buildings from ground to walls, were just kept on the surface. The sense of marble was created on the walls with brush strokes. Before we started our designs, we observed the Levantine houses in Alsancak, Karşıyaka, Buca, Bornova and researched about historical carton-pierre and wall art. We addressed the decorations in ancient Aegean cities Agora, Mylasa (Milas), Ephesus (Efes), Didyma (Didim), Pergamum (Bergama), and Aphrodisias (Afrodisyas). We wanted to reflect the deep-rooted history of the Aegean with all its values,” said Corsini.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Corsini reported that they decorated the walls of the first floor with the motives of grapes, figs, olives, all symbols of abundance, prosperity, and peace, and they preferred to use strong colors. She said that the second floor, where the meeting rooms were located, would welcome guests with a surface design decorated with daffodils and hyacinths, plants unique to Izmir region. Asst. Prof. Dr. Corsini said, “We used the anthemion motives which mean hosting guests in ancient periods. We believe this motive used in meeting rooms, where long negotiations take place and important decisions are made, would contribute to hospitality and communication. A design consisting of griffons and leaves was used in the Chairman’s Office. Griffons, legendary creatures with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion, are known for guarding the treasure. They were believed to be the symbol of trade in ancient period and used on the coins then. We designed a surface where the torch of trade is being guarded by the griffons”.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Corsini reported that their artistic work in the building would last for many year. Corsini stated the following:
“We used velatura (a type of translucent milky glaze that can create optical grays and illusions of layers glowing through one another) in our designs. It is completely an artistic work. Wall art enriches the area and gives meaning. It changes the atmosphere. Such work is only used in historical buildings in Turkey. The spirit of art in Izmir will be revealed in the new building of Izmir Chamber of Commerce.”