Quality materials and minimalist furnishings combined with a palette of light shades have created a delicate and relaxing atmosphere in this apartment in Galata, a neighborhood in the heart of Istanbul that’s been famous for trade since the 13th century. The project by London-based architecture and interior design studio OZA Design, co-founded by Turkish designer Özge Öztürk and Frenchman Alexandre Simeray, has created an environment that reflects the multicultural soul of this city on the border between East and West, a crossroads between continents and the former capital of the Byzantine, Roman, and Ottoman Empires.
The apartment, with a view directly over the Bosphorus, is surrounded by important UNESCO Heritage Sites as well as numerous historical buildings. The windows face onto many of them, creating an irresistible invitation to admire Hagia Sophia, the Süleymaniye Mosque, and Topkapi Palace from a very special perspective.
“Istanbul is a unique cultural mosaic in which people with different origins, traditions, and religions coexist. It was an example of globalization before the word existed,” says Özge Öztürk. “From the design of the layout to the selection of materials, we were inspired by the location of this project, by the great history of Istanbul, and, in particular, by the soul of the city and the lifestyle of its people.”
Poised midway between East and West, the city and its soul inspired the designers in developing the concept for this apartment, located on the first floor of a contemporary building completed in 2022 and purchased by a local businessman as his new family home. “Our main aim was to create a new design language starting from this interesting contrast,” say the designers. “As you look out the window at the most amazing historic sites, you’re also experiencing a relaxing, modern environment.”
From the layout to the furniture and lighting, everything has been positioned in such a way that the view outside is visible from every corner of the home. The interiors therefore are in constant dialogue with this living work of art. The apartment has a kitchen, a dining room that connects with the living room, and bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. The lighting and furniture help create an atmosphere that’s detached from the frenetic pace of the city. The low ceiling height prompted the designers to opt for lights recessed into the ceiling, as well as wall and floor lamps.
“Coming up with a design language that blends our two cultures has been really exciting for us,” say the co-founders of OZA. Another, perhaps more personal, reason for their enthusiasm is that Özge knows this area very well. “I lived in Istanbul between 2006 and 2014, before moving to the UK,” she says. “I used to live not very far from the area where the apartment is located and I know that it’s almost impossible to get the opportunity to work on a new modern building overlooking the Bosphorus. Also, my architecture thesis was about the adaptive reuse of port regions, using Galata as a case study.”
The color palette of the interiors is monochromatic, calm, and timeless. The light tones of the walls and ceilings contrast with the surrounding views, creating an interplay of light and shade throughout the day. The natural materials are mainly of local origin: oak with light marble elements.
For the most part, the furniture is designed by OZA itself, with the firm launching its own collection in the coming months. “We also collaborated with two Turkish artists: some artworks are by Sinan Logie and some ceramic objects are by Özde Özdal.”
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Interior Design: OZA
Photography by Fevzi Ondu, Courtesy of OZA