(...) Man is similar to where he lives / Similar to its water and similar to the soil of that place / (...) / The soil that pushes the flower out / The smoky slope of its mountains, hills / Similar to the white plain of Konya and red plain of Antep / His tears are blue just like the skies that he is similar to / His gaze is wavy just like he is similar to the sea / similar to the houses, the streets, the corners / So similar / and to its courtyards / (...) / And its words / (...) / And similar to the way they ask for an address / (...) / Similar to its yearning and lies / (...) / (...) / How similar we are to Turkey (...)” says Edip Cansever, in some parts of his poem “Sounds of blood in my handkerchief”

How right he is, the human being is indeed similar to where she/he lives. And the place where we live makes us who we are. Perhaps, as attributed to Ibn Haldun, “region is fate” and as Ihsan Eliaçık said, “fate is a capacity". Of course, we can change our fate. As we stand open to the environment that we have created with our changed fate to change us, our environment also changes us, but some of the things that make us who we are -still- remain somewhere.

Our homes are the most important scenes of the stories that make us who we are. We are most formed in the homes that we were born in, grew up in, left, returned to, and changed. Just like Turkey, which develops rapidly and unsteadily, our homes also change rapidly; it feels like we are living in instant tents. However, it is said that 70% of us live in cities where there are no tents! This was 30% in the 1950s…Now it is the opposite and 30% of Turkey occupies the rural areas. But their habits are also becoming increasingly urbanized. The way they live, their relationship with daylight, their TV addiction, what they eat, drink, and wear, as well as their household uses, are changing.

Now, the houses consist of independent and monofunctional units such as living rooms and bedrooms. Whereas, living rooms where the daily lives were spent, would turn into bedrooms with lying mattresses on the floor and mattresses would go back to yüklüks*. There would be a yunmalık** next to a yüklük.

Living rooms, where daily life is spent, whether they are in a konak or an ordinary rural home, would be fitted with sedirs***. These interiors which are free from mobile furniture, would never be deserted with two people but also never crammed even with 20 people.

Sedirs, or sekis, in other words, were also an outdoor seating element in gardens and under pergolas. Not just for seating, but they would be perfect for a nap and provide beds for the children of the guests. They would be decorated by cushions and pillows which would take the shape of your body. Whenever we have fellow architects from different parts of the world, we always find it difficult to explain why sedirs in Bosphorus mansions would face the interior, rather than the stunning view. The guests are surprised that they turn their back on Bosphorus but they understand that they can both experience Bosphours and the room at the same time, once we explain the way to use a sedir.

One of the most spoken issues after the earthquake (February 2023) was fixing mobile furniture at homes. However, sedirs and yüklüks were already fixed elements. "Life triangle"*** can easily be achieved with sedirs and yüklüks. And it can still be done: by combining the data of the traditional and modern world with ordinary and extraordinary situations, we have decided that this 'strange' year's topic as "comfortably living in unfurnished interiors without anxiety" in order to have a fresh look at the interior matter.

Although we covered this topic within the past workshops under the roof of ESTV, it has just become the title of the workshops. It is owed to Inan Gokcek's question; "Can we do something together?" His journey which started with interiors and continued with architecture led me to bring this topic up. Then we shared this idea with Emre, improved it together and decided that it is worth working on. Once again, we found another topic that isn't taught at schools.

For the first time, we are inviting interior students, as well as architecture students. We would have loved to include product design students but this might be a bit tricky since we have space for 10 participants. And this isn't a matter of product design.

As it happens every year, please prepare a preliminary study about Yahsibey and "comfortably living in unfurnished interiors without anxiety" which you will be asked to present in 10 minutes when we first meet. These initial discussions should help us to get to know each other as well as to understand the topic and space.

The workshops are set to start on 14 August and end on 28 August. The participants are asked to arrive on the 13th and present the final work on 26 August. 26th is for the cleaning and everyone could leave Yahsibey on 28 August.

*yüklük: a cupboard specifically built for storing sleeping kits

**yunmalık: an in-built bathing suit in bedrooms of traditional homes

***Sedir: Usually timber-structured, fixed seating along walls with cushions which can also be used as a bed

**** Life triangle: A method of self-protection to create a refuge by using heavy and sturdy objects / furniture at homes during an earthquake. Turkish government advice in earthquake zones.