December 11th, 2011
One of Turkey’s most creative enterprises resurrects classic designs for a new century by taking rundown rugs, hard-done-by halis, and death row kilims and rehabilitating them for a chance to be trodden on all over again by the well-heeled.
Five years ago it wasn’t always easy to find something genuinely Turkish and interesting for the home which was also genuinely different. Moreover, finding something to give to a Turk, who grew up surrounded by what a foreigner might consider new and exotic was even more of a challenge. Then an actress friend and neighbor introduced me to Mehmet Gureli and his original Ethnicon line of patchwork kilims.
Five years later, that sand-toned rug I gave my girlfriend (and today, my wife) still welcomes guests into our home as well as inviting comment. And despite great success and international press acclaim for his original Ethnicon line—meaning Ethnic and Contemporary, not Ethnic and fraudulent—Mehmet Gureli and family haven’t rested but continued to reinvigorate traditional floor coverings with the addition of five more lines and reinventions of the age-old Turkish handicraft of carpet and rug-making, while less inspired competitors play catch up and knock them off.
As my first story for my Philosofia, I decided to visit the Ikitelli neighborhood factory where they upcycle/recycle carpets and kilims, breathing new color into old fabrics and saving them from moldering away in the scrap heap or landfill. Here’s what I learned …
Dhoku is kind to the environment — Most Dhoku rugs are up-cycled / recycled. Instead of moldering in a landfill or elsewhere they are reconstituted and, in the cases of Ethnicon, Decadent and Anachron lines are re-dyed with natural vegetable dyes. New Dhokus are hand-loomed from 100% organic wool and vegetable dyed. Dhokus put somewhere between 200 people to work before they reach the bazaar showroom, and sewing machines are just about the biggest machines are used in their creation. Think the beauty of human power.
NEW DHOKUS: 100% ORGANIC WOOL, VEGETABLE DYES. LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL?
DECADENT: A NEW CARPET UPCYCLED BY PATCHWORKING OLD ORIENTAL RUGS (DETAIL).
Another attractive aspect of Dhoku is that its prices are fixed — Despite being sold in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, each Dhoku line has a fixed price per square meter. You needn’t worry about being taken advantage of or negotiating a price, which also means you do well and the company can afford to pay its artisans and employees fairly for their handiwork.
DHOKU’S SHOWROOM AT THE COVERED (GRAND) BAZAAR.
FIXED PRICES. NO HAGGLING.
Kapiliçarsi Takkeciler Sk. 58-60 34126 Istanbul, TURKEY
+90 212 527 6841