Ahu is a high-end and bespoke furniture design studio based out of London and Istanbul, that produces collectible pieces for private individuals and interior design projects of all scales.
The designs are limited editions, hand made in Istanbul by master craftsmen in specialised, small ateliers using the highest quality materials and finishes. Founded by longtime friends and Central Saint Martins alumni Eda Akaltun and Mevce Ciraci, the pieces combine works of graphic art with innovative product and furniture design - inspired and informed by the art, craft, history and mysticism of the diverse cultures that have inhabited Asia Minor.
The first collection is inspired by ikram, the Turkish tradition of offering guests boundless hospitality. The visual starting point for the whole collection is nazar, the evil eye, and comprises cabinets, coffee tables and side tables.
The centrepieces of the debut collection, the mahogany and lacquer Meyhane cabinets, are designed to highlight rare whiskies and spirits for the discerning collector.
Each piece of furniture is crafted from a solid mahogany structure, with doors and side panels that are printed and varnished by hand with multiple layers of high gloss lacquer.
Metal detailing is hand-worked to order for each piece by expert blacksmiths in copper plated brass.
Dimensions: H 185 W 110 D 64 cm
Edition of 8 + 2 AP
Each Ahu piece is crafted in third generation wood workshops in Istanbul, using methods refined over decades of building the traditional Yali houses that bank the ancient Bosphorus.
Stained with henna, as has been practice for centuries, the hardwood's intricate vein and rich colour are amplified, whilst the surface texture attains a matte velvety finish.
Each piece of furniture is designed in a collaborative, iterative process.
The design of the furniture is usually informed by two factors, the utility of the piece for a specific function and the organic nature of the artwork, which often forms the starting point for the creations.
The fluid and spontaneous forms of Eda’s eye paintings determine the outlines of certain elements such as the handles and legs making them more sculptural.
To achieve precision with such variable forms, blocks of wood get machined after a 3D model and later hand finished by master carpenters.
Eda studied graphic design at Central Saint Martins in London, and worked across editorial, design, publishing and advertising for a variety of high profile clients including the BAFTAs, The New Yorker, Herman Miller, and Krug Champagne.
Since 2016, she has been transforming her work for 3D environments, consulting on interiors projects and designing unique custom made pieces for clients based on her illustrative designs.
Mevce studied product design at Central Saint Martins in London, and worked at Ross Lovegrove Studio carrying out projects ranging from cosmetic packaging to lighting and furniture design for brands including Kenzo, Artemide, Moroso and VitrA Bathrooms.
In 2013 she moved back to Istanbul and co-founded Fields Architecture and Industrial Design firm. She works across multiple scales including residential and commercial interiors, packaging, lighting and furniture design.