Sunday, July 21, 2013

An Afternoon of Art and Natural Beauty at Borusan Contemporary, Part One

Our quest:
to explore this "haunted mansion"
My friend Barbara proposed an afternoon outing yesterday. I was deep into a good book so I took much convincing.

"It's too beautiful to stay indoors!" she said. It was beautiful too. This summer temperatures in Istanbul this year have been wonderfully temperate. "O-k-a-y," I said reluctantly. Sometimes you just have to trust your friend and go with her.

This was our quest: to explore this magnificent old building from 1910. It's called the Perili Köşk, or Haunted Mansion. For years, it had an outer shell only. The entire building had never been fully finished as war had interrupted construction. While it sat in that state, the building would make noises that spooked the neighborhood as materials shifted around. Hence, its reputation as haunted.
 We walked from Barbara's place
in the Bebek neighborhood
along the captivating Bosphorus corniche
to Perili Köşk Istanbul,
about a 15-minute walk.
The renovation of the building
 by architect Hakan Kıran
had been done perfectly;
all the new materials enhanced
the magnificence of the 10-story building.
Our lunchtime view:
an Istanbul ferry under the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge
The Haunted Mansion had been renovated and updated with spectacular attention to detail. The inside was light, airy, and modern - not in a way that fought with the historic nature of the house, but in a way that uplifted the spirit and sharpened the senses.
The historic building has been leased to Borusan Contemporary Holding Company on a long-term lease. During the week, over 70 people worked there managing a portfolio of companies. On weekends, the building is opened up to the public to explore and enjoy. Not only is it a workplace, but an office art museum.
Our first stop was the second floor, where we were having lunch with Internations friends in the museum café.

This young Turkish woman
 had been fasting for Ramadan
since sunrise.
She sat with us at lunch,
 and as you can see,
she still had her humor.
This Polish woman
was such a firecracker.
She had come from practicing dressage
all morning
for a competition in Bulgaria
next month.
Serdar, the organizer for our outing,
had just been to Ecuador
for a homeopathy convention
where he was the lone Turk in attendance.
He had enjoyed serving as the
"flagbearer for his country."
Every spot in the café had an amazing view
of the Bosphorus
and the bridge and shipping traffic.
It was time to go in and explore the rest of the building. Our museum guide had arrived to show us around. I had no idea what to expect because I had not even heard of the building before that day. Come back for my next post on the Borusan Contemporary to see what we discovered:

An Afternoon of Art and Natural Beauty at Borusan Contemporary, Part Two

An Afternoon of Art and Natural Beaty at Borusan Contemporary, Part Three
You might enjoy a few other posts about architecture:
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Moe said...

I work for Borusan and the Perili Kosk is a favorite of a lot of employees. I'm glad you enjoyed it too!

Karen said...

Moe, thanks for stopping by and saying hi. What a wonderful work environment! How fabulous. Please come back for part two and then you can tell me which room is your office. :-)

Moe said...

We're not in that building unfortunately, Borusan Holding is an automotive and steel company. They sell BMW, Mini and Range Rover, along with steel production around the world. You're welcome to visit me in the less exciting Avcilar office however!

Karen said...

Moe, there's that old saw about when you hear of something for the first time, you hear of it quickly again. I saw a sign in the Tophane-Findikli neighborhood that said Borusan and I'm sure I've gone by it many times without noticing the company name before. Now I do!

Does Borusan circulate all of the fabulous artwork to outlying company buildings as well?

Moe said...

They have main offices in Avcilar and Istiniye, as well as sales offices in around the country. I'm not sure what they do with their art actually as its not part of the actual money making part of the company per say. They also have an art gallery on Istiklal, a philharmonic group and an opera program. They're a fun company to work for.

Moe said...

Oh sorry, the other offices such as Avcilar and Istiniye are not open to the public except for the sales showrooms for the cars. No art sadly :/ Pretty darn bland actually.

Karen said...

Thanks for telling me about the art gallery on Istiklal. I look forward to going there and seeing it. I did not know that and appreciate you mentioning it.

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