When commissioned to transform Izmir’s Orfi furniture store into an inspiring and atmospheric new space, Turkish designer Nail Egemen Yerce was presented with three concepts that needed to be incorporated: the garden, the plaza and the street.
The existing office was endowed with an incredible excess of daylight, which needed to be diffused without shutting out the potential for connection between the interior and exterior, so the studio installed a striking curvilinear wall laid with perforated bricks. This unusual interior addition not only partitions space but also diffuses natural light that pours into the building.
The curvy brick wall that runs perpendicular to a series of timber beams brings a slight street element into the newly renovated office space. This accomplished, it was then necessary to employe a series of interventions to satisfy the garden aspect of the client’s brief.
An interior olive tree and other indoor greenery, combined with four transparent doors that open out to a row of Cypress trees outside and a pergola reduces the distinction between the indoors and outdoors. This was considered so important that the project’s name translates to “Orfi Greenhouse.” Unfortunately, a parrot was added to the mix to emphasize the “garden” aspect of the project. We could have lived without that detail.
And what of the square? Inspired by the great Italian plazas, Yerce used travertine for a lot of the flooring. Hard like marble but less slippery, this attractive stone is a common building material and Turkey is one of the main suppliers. However, we have to note that using this as opposed to either earthen or recycled materials supports an extractive industry that is fundamentally unsustainable over the longterm.
While we give credence to the designer’s renovation of an existing space, which is definitely more ecologically-sensitive that building new structures, there’s no real evidence that Yerce was motivated by sustainability. Even so, he does accidentally achieve this – to some extent – with an improved microclimate and energy-saving daylighting.
It may not hit five out of five for greenest building in Turkey, but nature has established a leading role in this design, making it a fresh and welcoming addition to Yerce Architecture’s blooming portfolio.
Images via Emin Emrah Yerce