Inspirational Design - A Talk with M. Ziya Cetik, Senior Designer, HOK

When we published Fifty Under Fifty: Innovators of the 21st Century with authors Beverly Russell, Eva L Maddox and Farooq Ameen, we expected it to attract considerable global attention. And ever since it was launched at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles, it has. The book was designed by Pentagram in New York and the design—with its beautiful French-fold jacket and clean layout—speaks directly to its intended audience of design aficionados.  

Anything that is published by IMAGES that profiles emerging talent in architecture and design serves as a guide to who to watch on the design scene and what has placed them on this trajectory.

We thought we would speak to a handful of the designers featured in the book to tell us a little about what it meant to be featured in an IMAGES publication. Interestingly, many people who have been profiled say that they feel the responsibility of mentoring to a new generation of designers. More on that later.

The first “innovator” we’ve spoken to thus far is M. Ziya Cetik. Ziya, who works at the Los Angeles studio of HOK as a senior designer, focuses on creative interior environments, furniture, and lighting design. He is also an instructor at UCLA in the Interior Architecture masters program. At 35 years of age at the time of publication, he is possibly the youngest designer profiled in Fifty Under Fifty.

Ziya tells us that he first became aware of IMAGES’ titles when studying for his Bachelor of Interior Architecture at Istanbul Technical University. The library there featured an extensive collection of IMAGES titles that inspired his thirst for knowledge about the global design scene.

He joined HOK in 2011 after six years of previous professional experience, and in that time has consulted for a diverse international client base and delivered more than 65 projects, including workplace design, hospitality, retail and high-end residential. His clients have included LinkedIn, ICM Talent Agency, Annenberg Space for Photography, Angeles Investment Advisors, Unilever, SAP, Novartis, and Matras.

Ziya says that his attraction to architecture and design has been a long-term passion, derived from a curiosity to improve the world around him. This passion, he says, lead him to seek opportunities for education, to obtain specialized skills to develop inspiring, efficient and eye-catching built environments for clients. He lists among the architects and designers who have influenced him the most as BIG, Ross Lovegrove, Santiago Calatrava, Tadao Ando, and Herzog & de Meuron. And when asked to list the buildings that he most admires, he names the Milwaukee Art Museum, the De Young, and the building known affectionately as the Gherkin, Foster + Partners’ 30 St Mary Axe.

On living in the United States after having lived in Turkey, he says that both have been advantageous as he developed his own architectural language. He describes it as a never-ending search in which he has established a certain level of language in the detail of the spaces and products he designs.

When working in Turkey, Ziya gained experience consulting with many major firms from around the world, and we asked if this left him with any unique experiences. He explains that there were noticeable differences based on styles and taste, client expectations, awareness, and regulations which required flexibility, combined with extensive knowledge and background development.

So, what does Ziya say about the responsibility of mentoring new designers? He notes that new designers should follow their passions and dreams no matter what their situation might be, to stay focused and work hard, and that they will be rewarded and recognized for their work. It’s good advice, and advice which can be imparted by anyone mentoring the next generation’s leaders. Don’t you just wish you were one of his students at UCLA?

On being profiled in Fifty Under Fifty, he tells us that, “Being featured in this IMAGES publication has raised the bar so high about my goals and desire to succeed. It is motivational and inspiring to know that my work will be visible around the world.” But he counsels, too, by reminding us that, “Design is an endless journey. Have fun, be responsible and work hard.”

We will talk to other architectures and designers and bring you their thoughts on being featured in Fifty Under Fifty.

Fifty Under Fifty: Innovators of the 21st Century

Fifty Under Fifty: innovators of the 21st Century | Architecture Books | Design InspirationThe architects, designers, artists and others represented in Fifty Under Fifty are innovators of our time.

After a world-wide search of 50 top architecture and design firms by the editors, lead author Beverly Russell along with Eva Maddox and Farooq Ameen help bring together a unique body of work; all partners in these firms will be 50 years old or under at the time of publication, and represent a forward-thinking generation of creative people, aware of global issues that urgently need solutions through imaginative design.

Firms / individuals featured in the article

Joe Boschetti
Joe Boschetti