Illuminating effect in Istanbul’s hidden corner .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ISTANBUL - Neşat Fehmi Erdoğdu, an artisan of light, has designed lamps using iron and glass since 1984. After studying ceramics at Mimar Sinan University, he decided to continue his father’s lamp business. He owns a shop in a hidden corner of Şişhane district. Erdoğdu’s lamps and chandeliers look like sculptures and his shop like a temple.

It is impossible to pass by a place where sheets of light dazzle the eyes. Just like a fairy tale purple, red, yellow and orange lights of the lamps decorate the shop’s window and lightens the street.

Neşat Fehmi Erdoğdu is a light artisan; he has been dressing lights, using iron and glass, since 1984. Once the work is completed, it looks like a sculpture. A true gentleman, Erdoğdu is proud of his business, yet a little sad that there is no one who can take over his profession.

His chandeliers, shaded lamps, floor lamps and wall lamps can be easily recognized when seen somewhere just like recognizing a painting from Van Gogh. Although the shop is in one of the hidden corners of Istanbul’s Şişhane district, he has frequenters and the neighbors know him well.

"Since my childhood years, I have been amazed by lights," said Erdoğdu. Growing up in Istanbul’s Haliç coast in Golden Horn, his interest in art was affected by the look of the neighborhood where he lived and also the temples. "It is not only the lights in the temples that influence me its also something spiritual, their presence is even affective." No wonder why his shop has the soul of temples, feeling sacred and peaceful.

Learned how to draw
Erdoğdu always planned to study art, but when he received his university exam results he found that he was qualified for studying math. "I enjoyed math after I learned more," he said, adding that he went on to harmonize math with his life. Teaching himself how to draw, practicing with each person or object sitting in front of him while studying, Erdoğdu got into the ceramics department at Mimar Sinan University’s Fine Arts the following year.

After his studies he won a state scholarship for Köln University and went to Germany in 1972 to broaden his career in art. Living in Germany and studying there was the best thing that happened to him, according to Erdoğdu. "I learned many things during those years," he said, adding that he worked as a lecturer in a fine arts academy when he returned to Turkey.

After seven years of educating young artisans, he decided to quit one day because his understanding of art was not proper for Turkey, which still carried effects of the military regime, and he decided to take over the family business, which was producing lamps. Besides managing the business with his brothers, he started designing lamps as well.

Not liking to be popular, Erdoğdu said, "I have always avoided being ordinary, I changed the attitude toward lighting equipment. My job combines arts and trade." By improving his father’s business with an artistic sight, he has become very famous.

After a while Erdoğdu’s brothers died. Their black and white photos, looking proud, are on the wall in his shop. He has continued to run the business by himself with two craftsmen and has never given up his beliefs and following the path, which he believes is true.

"I never followed the fashion. No one ever asked me to design something weird," said Erdoğdu, who didn’t produce numerous numbers from one design. He always aimed to be better, and he was always at peace with everything around him.

Istanbul is one of his best influences on his works. "The impressive city, the neighborhood where I grew up, and being educated in art helped me to be successful."

Criticizing today’s consumer craziness, he said, "In the old times people used to value what they were buying for their homes. Today, people go for cheap, useless, low quality goods." Erdoğdu said he stopped producing for a while. "I want to sell most of my works before I start designing again. There are about 400 lamps in the shop now."