Give a short introduction of Hamide design studio:
Hamide is a multidisciplinary design studio that works at the intersection of art and design. We have our own product line, we do design consultancy, we design installations, and we even have initiated a social movement. We are very much interested in doing non-profit humanistic projects that combine art and design.
Seda: We don’t like to limit ourselves by definitions I think. In that sense, I would say we are a studio that is very observant towards the time we live in and expressive in a critical and artistic way. We aim to enhance people’s everyday lives by creating aesthetic experiences. We care deeply about local production, sustainable and slow living. We are drawn to the idea of reinterpreting materials, methods and contexts. We have designed about 17 collections so far on a range of topics, which we explored through different product lines as art prints, stationery, personal items. You can find our products at design and museum shops mainly in Denmark such as Danish Design Museum Shop, Danish Architecture Centre Bookshop, Justspotted, but also in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Greenland, and Ireland. We are based in Copenhagen, which we enjoy very much. The city feeds us and we feed it back. Our studio is in Islands Brygge. We share with 3 others (who turned out to be very unfriendly after we signed the contract – a little gossip 😊). We use the studio as a shop at the weekends. We think it is nice for people to have access to creative environments. Also, some of our products are in limited edition and they are not available at the stores. So, it makes it possible to see these and get them. In terms of consultancy, we have mostly done visual identity design. Our most significant project is for RainTree, a fair trade brand offering handmade bags out of upcycled plastic handwoven by underprivileged women in India. We designed their logotype, information material, product labels, product packages and product manuals. Other than visual identity design, we have also done experience design for Lyran acoustic concert series in Sweden; site specific installations for each concert.
When are you most creative:
Seda: It’s going to sound a bit arrogant but I feel creative most of the time and it is not limited to design, it could be in the kitchen, when I write, dress up or take a photograph. It is part of my being and it’s in my everyday life. In design work, I think I am most creative when I feel a strong connection to a topic, which usually happens if it is something I personally experience. It is more like a natural expression rather than a forced, planned, programmed intellectual activity. Deadlines make me creative also, often. Or limitations. When I have limited resources, I get more creative in solving a problem. I guess it becomes a challenge which provokes me. For instance, the first collection we started selling to retailers in Copenhagen, was really original because we literally had nothing to produce it in a conventional way, I mean money, production place etc. Instead, we just got a pack of good quality out of production paper, and a stamp. It was extremely handmade! It also happens often in the kitchen, if I don’t really have stuff to bake a cake I would come up with an original one time desert. And I think I enjoy more these kinds of processes where I don’t really have to follow a recipe. In fact I don’t really like baking a cake because it requires me to be more precise with the recipe unlike cooking, which is more welcoming towards creativity.
Şeyda: All the time I am creative but the level of it fluctuates. I am triggered by my daily experiences, surroundings, and observations. All of these always change and evolve. Therefore, the time I am most creative also changes. Sometimes in a very busy work period, sometimes at nights, sometimes as I walk around. But in general I like working at night by myself on forming ideas because I have the calmness and isolation I need and like.
When did Hamide design studio start:
Both of us did our masters in Sweden. We lived there between 2008-2010. At the time, we were not only doing our masters but also taking care of our mother Hamide Yanç Özçetin, who had atypical Parkinson’s disease. She was a genius but unrecognized local designer from south eastern Turkey from a city that is located on the border to Syria; Gaziantep. She struggled all her life especially due to discrimination against women. She is the main inspiration behind our studio and brand Hamide. We wanted to settle down in Sweden but it was not possible due to EU immigration law. We had to move back to Turkey. At the time our mother ́s health was severely going bad. Her dream has always been to have her own label. Realizing that we were losing her we decided to realize her dream not only for her but also for us to hold on to her,to cope with the fact that she will be gone soon. This is how we started working on Hamide project in 2010. One year was like a preparation year, kind of studying our own project, preparing the first collection. However, we launched it in 2011 November in Copenhagen and in fact moved to Copenhagen to realize this dream. But the official registration of the company was December 2012.
Where is Hamide design studio in about 5 years:
Şeyda: I think I have always been future oriented. I envision lots of success. Hamide has activist projects like “I feel from”. I want these projects to be well known and create change. I envision all our product ideas to be realized especially the humanistic ones like designing products for handicapped people. With everything we do I want to create real improvement in quality of life for people including myself. I want Hamide to be an established design brand, not only known and embraced by Denmark as a Danish brand without hiding our immigrant identity but also internationally. I wish that we have more diverse product range such as furniture, lighting, textile, tableware, stationery, bike accessories or even wheelchair in five years. Oh yes! I definitely envision a shop in Copenhagen.
Seda: It has been quite challenging to run our own studio especially in terms of economy as well as being a Non-EU immigrant in Denmark. So, in 5 years, I envision that we overcome this feeling of instability which really drains your energy. Sometimes this works as a motivator but still I want it gone! Also, people mostly see us as a graphic design studio but we are not. So, it is really important for me to be established as a multidisciplinary studio. Another significant milestone for me is to have our own studio space, where we don’t have to share with anyone else, which can both function as a studio and a shop, big enough for us to host our own events like talks, exhibitions, screenings. A creative hub people want to go and leave feeling enriched, provoked, challenged, etc.
How do you keep yourself motivated:
Şeyda: Envisioning future. Dreaming. If you have high expectations from the future it can motivate you. No matter how challenging things are you manage to be motivated if your dreams are really important for you, if you really take them seriously. Also, my love for design and art motivates me. We consume art and design, we experience different events often. I think it is a great pleasure. You can criticize them but it doesn’t matter. It is still really fun to be there and experience. Then you realize you really like your job, this profession, industry. You want to take active part in it. You don’t want to be only a spectator but be a producer. These experiences that we all gain through art and design make people happy. At the core, you want to be responsible for that. I want people to be happy, more intellectual, intelligent and have good experiences. In the core, it is much related to your good intentions, or for me this is that kind of a profession.
Seda: That’s why I think being in Copenhagen is very significant for us. It is a city that embraces creativity. It is not afraid of it. Still can get better though. In any case, it is really different from what we experienced in Turkey. So, being part of this collective creativity really motivates us. We know its value, having this opportunity, having an audience that appreciates design and art, having an active creative community. Seeing good projects, the fact that they got support, positive response etc, makes us motivated. It doesn’t make us jealous. It more makes you understand that you can also do it. Besides, I think Seyda is very much motivated by challenges as well. I do too. But first I have this period of sulking, feeling worried, etc. But she is more like a head-on person. I think she manages to transform bad experiences or circumstances into facilitators faster and easier, or she makes it look easy. I also think, personally, I experience happiness most through my work. Creative processes get you into a flow, which is one of the ways people, I also, experience happiness. So, that is a motivator!