Located in Maslak, the European side of Istanbul’s burgeoning business district, The Dogus Power Centre and its ‘Russian doll’, Dogus Otomotion, is the first building of its kind in Turkey and reportedly, the world.
Amassing 58,000sq m in total, incorporating 11,500sq m of automotive showrooms, Dogus is the combined exhibition mainstay of multiple car manufacturers, including Porsche, Lamborghini, Audi, Volkswagen, Skoda, Seat and Bentley.
Moreover, the Centre is home to copious global brands in the form of shops, cafés and other such facilities (approximately 33,000sq m) and that’s not to mention the 21,000sq m of closed and open parking space, accommodating 900 vehicles. There is also a 180-degree multimedia exhibition room, conference rooms, an amphitheatre and scores of vacant office space. It even caters for renters in retail, food, furniture, technology and textiles sales. All in all, it’s an impressive transformation from the Centre’s previous existence as mere exhibition space.
“Architecture and the automotive industry have been more interactive than ever in the last decade, in both the sociological and aesthetic sense,” says project leader Cem Kocaciklioglu of Kocaciklioglu Mimarlik – a leading Turkish architecture firm who, together with New York-based creative consultant Walt Behnke, were tasked with the massive undertaking. “It is obvious that architects and industrial designers continually inspire each other, using the ample technological and material opportunities to create an aesthetic similarity detectable even to the uneducated eye, for example Coop Himmelb(l)au’s building in Munich.”
However, inspiration for the design of Dogus – particularly Otomotion – came from an entirely different source: “One of the factors that determined the design was the employer’s ‘experimental marketing idea,’” explains Cem. “We envisaged a concept that allows the space to be perceived from different heights. This way, particularly with Otomotion, the cars can be viewed from different angles. We wanted to use cars as works of art.”
Cem explains how a bridge has been designed between common areas of the Centre, tying them together like a ribbon. “We also made the food court area in the adjacent shopping mall transparent, thus creating visual contact,” he continues. “This is the only visual contact we allowed for in the entire space. That’s because a daylight-controlled environment was key in catching the lighting from the cars and a high projection quality.”
Cem and Walt wanted to make shopping feel more like socialising. The recreational setting means visitors are encouraged to learn about and enjoy the technology on offer without feeling pressurised to buy. The result is a space not too dissimilar to London’s Excel Exhibition Centre: a multi-functional entertainment/sales hybrid.
The strategy proved sound. The Dogus Power Centre is now the hub of Istanbul’s shopping scene (helped by easy access to main highways and the new metro station) and attracts white-collar locals by the thousand.
The Centre’s clientele is testament to the majestic environment within, which includes an awe-inspiring nebulous centrepiece and plush designer furnishings, most of which were selected by Turkey-based furniture designer and manufacturer, Nurus.
The approximately 17,000sq m of office and exhibition space features such luxurious brands as Silva, S-Chair, Arper, Walter Knoll and Artifort. The result is super classy and just one of many elements that sets The Dogus Power Centre apart from its peers – just as well, seeing as there’s much more at stake to the success of this project than an architect’s bruised ego.
Maslak and the nearby Levent district have been in fierce competition for new architectural projects – particularly skyscrapers – to help boost their respective economies for several years. More recently, both districts have had to contend with impending threats from a new kid on the block.
Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, The Kartal Urban City Project will see an abandoned industrial site on Istanbul’s east bank transformed into the world’s first entirely ‘green’ city. Upon completion, Kartal is tipped to form the city centre, with plans for a business district, residential housing and cultural facilities more luxurious than those in any other district.
Facing such surmountable competition, The Dogus Power Centre and its architects could prove instrumental in turning around the fortunes of the Maslak district in years to come. Providing a place for both international visitors and well-connected locals to shop, do business and delight in will surely attract new investment and interest to the region.