An Istanbul-Based Furniture Studio Revives an Ancient Turkish Knotted-Wood Technique for a New York Audience

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“When designing the Oblong collection, the goal was to match the simplistic, bulky, and rounded forms with striking materials,” said Sanayi313 co-founder Enis Karavil. Imperfectly shaped stools, consoles, coffee, side, and dining tables comprise the collection stemming from an intelligent use of knotted mazel and burl wood, crafted by carpenters using thousand-year-old techniques specific to Istanbul and available through New York gallery Love House.

Burl wood was popular in the Art Deco and Hollywood Regency movements of the 1920s and ’30s and again in the 1970s. Collected for its luxurious appearance, heavy weight, and aesthetic moodiness, the intricately knotted wood is again seeing a resurgence today as it crops up in architectural fit-outs and furniture designs.

Stools from the Oblong collection. Courtesy of Sanayi313 studio.

Sanayi313 got its start in fashion but now develops everything from interiors to home accessories. With residential design as its main market, the firm operates out of the rapidly transforming, post-industrial Ataturk Oto Sanayi Sitesi district in Istanbul. Within this dramatic setting, the firm is focusing more and more on creating contemporary high-craft pieces in rich woods that hark back to European and Middle Eastern antiques—a vast collection Enis has amassed over the years.

Though unmistakably bold in appearance, Sanayi313‘s Oblong collection is intended for a myriad of interiors. The new pieces—unified by a formal vocabulary of monumental planes, neotenic details, and bowed edges—are as much a celebration of contemporary sculptural design as they are an ode to Istanbul, a city of contrasts. For Karavil and his brother Amir, Oblong is a chance to demonstrate their ‘maximalist expression in minimalist form’ ethos.

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