Part 25 of a month-long celebration of Women’s History Month
Having enjoyed a privileged upbringing in an artistic Ottoman family in Istanbul (including growing up in a waterfront yali designed by Garabet Balyan), Zeynep Fadıllıoğlu (b. 1955) first studied computer science before turning to art history and interior design. After graduating from the Inchbald School of Design, London, she founded the firm ZF Design to arrange collaborations among designers working in luxury restaurants, homes and hotels in Qatar, northern Europe, India and Turkey.
Her most notable work came from an opportunity to step in for architect Hüsrev Tayla to complete the design of the Şakirin Mosque in Istanbul (2009, above). A striking design for a project that requires significant adherence to convention, the mosque is a notable example of her commitment to fusing modern understanding with traditional values. It is highly significant as the first mosque in Turkey to be designed by a woman.