Dervish by Kunter Şekercioğlu: Coffee Cup is Back to its Origin



Tolga Yilmaz Ceramics Art + Perception 106 2017 Technical, Editors Choice Home

Designed by Kunter Şekercioğlu and produced in his own workshop called Kilit Taşı (Keystone), Dervish is a Turkish coffee cup and its plate, made of porcelain (see image on previous page). This design was awarded the Design Turkey – Superior Design Award in 2010, and Observeur du Design in 2011. Unlike modern Turkish coffee cups that show us the coffee culture of Ottoman royal traditions, Dervish reflects the Sufi background of coffee in Anatolia prior to the 16th century and reminds us of the real origins of coffee in Anatolia and our culture.

Kunter Şekercioğlu has been working as a freelance designer since 1996. He has been given important awards in the field of industrial design such as Good Design Award and German Design Award. Since 2002, he has been designing and producing various products in his studio, products that mostly reflect local and regional cultural elements and influences.1 He explains the presence of strong cultural references in his products and the cultural elements influencing his design processes as follows: “I believe in the inseparability of aesthetics and functionality, but I also value cultural habits, craftsmanship, history and the details of daily life as triggering factors for my designs.” Şekercioğlu is one of the successful Modern Craftsmen, who are quite rare today, since he designs and produces his products in his own studio by being completely involved in design and production processes, and he gives importance to craftsmanship, and works hard to reflect and convey local and regional culture by using his knowledge and experience.

I believe in the inseparability of aesthetics and functionality, but I also value cultural habits, craftsmanship, history and the details of daily life ..

The roots of coffee in Anatolia date back to Sufi traditions and culture since there were a lot of myths about it and it was used as a drink during rituals. The most powerful and popular Sufi sect in Anatolia is called Mevlevi (whirling dervishes) and they wear plain white dresses (called tennure) during the whirling ritual (Sema ayini in Turkish). The plain and unornamented body of Dervish reflects the purity and plainness of these dresses and also the ritual itself. The most impressive and unforgettable visual element of whirling ritual is skirts moving up like waves, since dervishes whirl continuously for a long time. The bottom part of Dervish, which can be defined as both “zarf” and plate, is a strong reference to the wavy image of dervishes’ skirts; in other words, it is a reference to the whirling ritual. Designed without a handle, Dervish reflects the presence of coffee cups that were plain and without handles prior to 19th century.

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