The deadline to apply the open call for the Kitchen programme of the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial is 28 February 2020. Starting off from the idea that design comprises the devices, platforms and interfaces through which we relate to one another, this Kitchen is a new site for experimentation, conversation, sharing and action. Kitchens are shared spaces of encounter. They embrace social differences and facilitate the circulation of ideas, and practices of care, empathy and hospitality. Throughout history, kitchens have been the subject of designers, architects and artists’ work, engaged in ideas surrounding the value, production and distribution of food and the socio-political aspects of cooking and dining.James Shaw – Plastik Baroque Cutlery


The projects submitted should reflect the theme of the biennial by architect and curator Mariana Pestana: Empathy Revisited: designs for more than one that celebrates commensality and other protocols for sharing. Interested in tables, pots and dinner sets but also virtual reality headsets, digital currencies and online chat rooms, it will avoid cataloguing or classifying, welcoming myth and ceremony. Kitchen functions as a social and convivial space, a display, a cafe, a cooking school and a platform for performance. Inside the Kitchen, visitors can engage in the passage of food from plant to palate; take part in collective culinary traditions; and examine how food exchange, preparation and consumption impacts contemporary culture. It revisits the origins of the notion of empathy to imagine a role for design concerned with feelings, affects and relations.

The open call for projects and events that revolve around the Kitchen is extended to all local or international practitioners and thinkers including designers, artists, writers, architects, curators, researchers, academics, food practitioners, cooks and culinary enthusiasts.


Open Call for Menus & Tools

The curatorial team of the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial is seeking applications for ‘Menus’ (projects that propose different cultural approaches to eating and dining informed by global conditions, socio-economic challenges, and contemporary discourse) and ‘Tools’ (objects found in kitchens that support and expand ways of cooking and eating) for the Kitchen programme that address one or more of the following themes:

  • Alternative systems: scarcity, ecological crisis, waste systems, new materialities, unexpected ingredients, circular economy.
  • Geopolitical narratives: global culinary stories, agricultural industry vs local ecologies, forgotten recipes, cities vs rural hinterland, hidden kitchens.
  • Love and labour: domestic labour, the economics of love, hospitality vs hostility, ownership and sharing models.
  • Posthuman encounters: interspecies relations, postcolonialism, posthuman narratives and inclusivity.
  • Ceremony and ritual: table manners, dining rituals, etiquette, spiritual connections with food, intimacy, myth.
  • Expanded perception: multisensory design, gustatory diversity, flavour and experience, palate and diet, health, accessibility.

The Kitchen invites visitors to consider and experience design in an expanded sense, through its equipment and furnishings; its materiality and spatial conditions; its relationship to the body and its senses; and its potential to affect human behaviour.

A public programme will activate the Kitchen during the biennial, challenging practices of hospitality and rethinking the relationship between host and guest. Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) the biennial -that will take place from September the 26th through November the 8th 2020- will comprise a Kitchen and an Observatory, which will take place in two separate venues.

How to Apply?

The biennial will select 12 menus and 12 tools for the Kitchen from the open call. The feasibility of projects, including details of gallery representation, any collaborations with brands and manufacturers, or other relationships that may support the production of your work, as well as the scale of production budgets, will be taken into consideration during the selection process.

Applicants should state clearly whether they are applying to the open call for ‘Tools’ or ‘Menus’ – the biennial will welcome applicants interested in applying for both.


For further details and requirements about the application: https://tasarimbienali.iksv.org/en

To apply to the open call: https://forms.gle/ePQUt4Ne4h8FKx2p8

Photos: Naz Sahin