"If only I had a historic house with my cafe on the ground floor, office on the second and my home above what..." What city-dweller hasn't had a similar dream? Now imagine that yours is an Ottoman-era house with tall ceilings, one of the first buildings to be constructed in Nişantaşı. That's exactly what UK Design Cafe is. About three months ago, owner Ümit Ük teamed up with his sister Sema Ük Tekin to convert the building he used as his home and office into a space where visitors could dine on fresh Ottoman fare. "It was my dream to convert this beautiful monument of old Istanbul into a venue filled with joy, laughter and conversation," he says. Ümit Ük is a well-traveled, imaginative designer who blends Western ideas with an Eastern flair. His works vary so widely that it's hard to believe they were designed by the same person. Many of these pieces are on display in the showroom located at the entrance to UK Design, including a lamp made out of a silver tea pot, statuettes made out of repurposed wine bottles, antique keys whose molds were taken from a master in Antep, night lamps crafted out of mannequin heads, colorful pillows and much, much more.
Beyond the showroom lies the cafe, separated into three sections with a lounge area, dining rooms on the floor above and a cute balcony out back. Ük points out that everything - from the placemats to the chairs and lamps - is the artist's own design and is available for purchase.
We're not surprised when we learn that UK Design Cafe was opened a result of "neighborhood pressure," with Nişantaşı locals and shopkeepers asking Ümit Bey to open up a cafe so they could spend time in the building. Thanks to their persistence, the neighborhood now has a place where a different menu is served each day for lunch. Melodi Türkili
|Venue name:||UK Design Cafe|
Rumeli Caddesi Matbaacı Osmanbey Sokak 46, Nişantaşı