Multidisciplinary talent Hakan talks Ferraris, human-centered design, and working from his balcony

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Hakan N Türkmen, an entrepreneurial product & interior designer, has been part of jovoto’s creative community for a little under two years and has been involved in over 20 projects. Whether it’s envisioning cool delivery services solutions for Miele or designing innovative 3D-printable elements for the VW ID Buzz, or one of our many NDA projects, we can always rely on Hakan to come up with quality creative ideas!

Inspired by minimalism and geometric, sculptural shapes, Hakan is interested in user-centred products, wearable tech and smart assistants. He started his own company in 2011 producing multifunctional seating and lighting elements and bespoke furniture. He regularly collaborates with other design studios and production companies and his portfolio boasts a variety of commercial and residential projects in countries like Turkey, Greece, UAE and Lebanon.

Looking for the next creative to feature in a spotlight on the blog, it seemed like a no-brainer to get in touch with Hakan. We enjoyed getting to know more about him, and we are sure you will too…

Have you always dreamt of being a product & interior designer and how did you end up where you are today?

I dreamed of becoming a car designer ever since I first saw a Ferrari Testarossa. When I was four years old, my father brought me a diecast model of one with ITALIA’ 90 stickers on. It was love at first sight!

Later, I got to see other Ferrari models like the F40, 456 and F355. I don’t remember exactly how, but I learned that all of these works of art were designed by the same studio: Pininfarina. I started to dream about working there and designing for Ferrari! I used to create vehicles with Lego pieces and would take photos to send to the studio in the hope that they would put my ideas into production! When I was 11, I started designing cars with pen and paper and another of Pininfarina’s designs, the Alfa Romeo Spider, became a big inspiration.

While I was still in high school, I started to participate in design competitions and I decided to study product and interior design at university with a view to doing a Master’s in Transportation Design to become a car designer. During my studies, I got into designing places and products that we use in our daily lives. I continued down this route and founded my first company producing everyday products. Today, I live in Milan and work on a range of projects but I still hope to have the chance to design a car in the future!

Not quite car design, but rather design for the inside of a car – a VW Buzz to be precise. Hakan’s idea for a 3D-printable optional extra in the Print Your Buzz project earned him two awards totalling €1500.

You have studied, lived and worked in both Turkey and Italy. Can you tell us about the creative industries in both countries? How are they similar? How do they differ? What do you think they could learn from each other?

As two Mediterranean countries, Turkey and Italy have a lot in common. Their styles might differ but there are also many similarities, especially when it comes to people’s passion. In Italy, creativity and beauty are intrinsic to the culture. The Italian aesthetic is very much at the heart of the Italian lifestyle. This is not only true for a small “design-savvy” percentage of the population but for everyone. It can be seen in everything. In Turkey, the creative industries are more solution-oriented. Speed is more of a concern than creativity and aesthetics. Tried, tested and successful solutions are prioritised.

I think investing in creativity and giving the necessary attention to aesthetic details, much like Italians do, is important. On the other hand, I think practical and intelligent problem solving and being fast to take action, as Turks do, can be inspiring for everyone who works in the creative industries.

How did you find out about jovoto and why did you decide to join our creative community?

I heard about jovoto thanks to a friend, Engin Akbaba, who is also a jovoto creative. He invited me to join the Keep Cool project with Miele and I believe that went pretty well!

The Keep Cool project went very well for Hakan and Engin! Two ideas that they collaborated on caught the client’s eye. This one – an origami-inspired slim and smart cooling device and innovative delivery solution – earned them three awards and a licensing fee totalling €3300.

How has being a jovoto creative had an impact on you?

Being a part of the jovoto community and so many projects has helped me become a multi-disciplinary designer. I have learned a lot, researching markets that I was not familiar with and discovering new technologies. Creating new products, approaches and solutions for a variety of sectors has been invaluable to me, both for my personal and professional development.

Working for big-name clients who have the budget and infrastructure to realize your product and service innovations – with the potential to make an impact on a global scale is probably every designer’s dream.  Also, being appreciated and getting rewarded is the encouragement that we designers need the most. As independent designers, one of the biggest struggles that we have with clients is dealing with getting invoices paid. Knowing that jovoto takes care of this helps me to concentrate on my ideas and to be more creative with a clearer mind.

What is your favorite product or digital service to use?

My favorite products and digital services are Google Home, Spotify, Skype and Amazon Prime. I use them very often! I believe that the world will become more and more digital in the near future and the physical distance between the people will increase. Digital services will become the go-to choice. Traditional working methods will evolve and people will prefer to meet in real life to socialize and for entertainment rather than for work. Working at home will become the norm and maybe we will experience mixed reality and fully robotized production chains sooner than we thought.

Hakan and Engin’s other idea for the Keep Cool project with Miele – a smart eco-friendly cooling storage unit for apartment blocks – earned them an €800 client’s choice award.

Tell us about the newest thing you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your design work!

Human-centered design thinking under extreme conditions (much like the ones we are experiencing right now!) I believe that the spread of corona and the lockdowns and restrictions that have come with it, show us just how fragile human society really is and how easily the systems that support the flow of daily life can be interrupted. This is true whether we are talking about production, logistics, transport, working, entertainment or many other areas, but most importantly healthcare. We should think about the weaknesses of our lifestyle habits and we need to invent new solutions for our future.

Yes indeed! You are based in Milan which has been hit hard by the spread of the coronavirus. How has it been? Have you found any creative hacks to pass the time while on lockdown? 

We are in the Milan-Lombardy region, very much in the center of the lockdown area. Unfortunately, we are experiencing very difficult and sorrowful times. My wife and I are some of the lucky ones, as we are able to keep working from home. We have been staying indoors for weeks and only go out once a week to go grocery shopping.  As I am familiar with working remotely it has not been very difficult for me to adapt but of course, it is not easy to lose the freedom of having a walk on a sunny day. I moved my desk to the balcony – at least this way I can get some fresh air and I have the view of the Lombardy Region headquarters, where the authorities make the decisions that impact the residents of this area!

Hakan’s balcony set up… do we spy!

I am spending my days mostly doing things that I wasn’t normally able to dedicate that much time to. More time for self-improvement, more research, more skype calls, new recipes and attending workout sessions on YouTube with my wife instead of going to the gym –  it’s a good time for all of us to try new things!


Are you a designer, looking to try something new? If you would like to connect with designers from around the world and work on design and innovation briefs for big-name brands, then join jovoto now! Ideation, iteration, innovation – that’s what we are all about. We work with the client to hone and define their challenge and you get creating. Sound good? – find out more or sign up now!


Check out more of Hakan’s work on his jovoto profile and website.

PS: In Hakan’s last email to us, he also just happened to mention that, when he’s not busy designing, he works as the agent of paralympic athlete and football player, Barış Telli. We’re just left asking ourselves, how he finds the time to do it all?! 

Helen Gimber

Helen is into creativity, collaboration & collectivity! She joined jovoto in 2015 as a guide for Textile Design projects and has been a regular fixture of the community marketing and management team since.


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