Markiz was originally opened as a Lebanese pastry shop (Café Lebon) on Grand Rue de Pera (today’s Istiklal Street). The building itself was designed by an architect of the Grand Pera Hotel and many other Art Nouveau buildings; Alexandre Vallaury. And the its fine decorative Art Nouveau faience panels depicting the Four Seasons (1905). Produced in France by Ch. Boulanger at Choisy-Le-Roi, all four panels were apparently shipped to Istanbul, but only Spring and Autumn arrived intact. They were installed here in the 1920s.

Bought and renovated by Avedis Ohanyan Çakır in 1940, it re-opened as Markiz and served as a gathering-place for prominent writers, intellectuals and society for decades.

This pastry shop being a bridge between many cultures -Turkish, Lebanese, Armenian and French- I thought it was a great chance to create a family for their menus and signs. So I started by examining the old art nouveau fonts -such as Auriol- and tried to understand the essence of it. It was the ductus done with the brush, with the sense of typography; which became my starting point. After that, I started reviving the art nouveau typefaces from the posters and books, continued by deciding on the design specifics along the way. It tended to be a little too playful, but I found the right balance.

Quature is definitely a typographic production, but it’s heavily based on the calligraphy. And since I don’t have a calligraphic background, I struggled a lot with it. But the instructors helped me a lot during the process and in the end, I progressed much more than I could ever imagine.

I’d like to thank Jean François, Mathieu, Malou, Marc, Gina, David Brezina, Toshi, Ian and of course Martin Majoor for their incredible support and guidance. Also, I’d like to say special thanks to David, Andrea and Martin for their unconditional love and support that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. This is an experience that changed my life completely and I’ll never forget.

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