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Interior Design (MA)

Dilan Karatas

Dilan Karatas is a German-Turkish architectural designer currently based in London. Prior to the RCA, she studied at the Technical University in Berlin, where she obtained her undergraduate degree in Architecture. Throughout and after her studies, she has worked in an architectural office in Berlin.

Dilan's designs reflect a blend of functionality, sustainability, and aesthetic appeal, creating spaces that inspire and make minimal impact on the existing. She approaches each project with a meticulous eye for detail. Dilan recognises the importance of consciously working with resources and aims to create awareness of socially and economically relevant issues in today’s society by implementing them in her designs.

photo of dilan karatas

BRICK BY BRICK The Intrinsic Tension between Retail and Sustainability

In the retail industry, the quest for competitiveness often needs to be revised with sustainable practices. Retail interiors are frequently redesigned to appeal to customers, generating significant waste in the process.

However, Brick by Brick is changing the narrative. Set within the space of the former Siemens factory in Greenwich, it divides the ground floor unit into a workshop and retail area, interconnected by large glass panels.

This setup invites visitors to actively engage in upcycling retail waste and participating in the repair of preloved items. By showcasing the circular economy in action, Brick by Brick emphasises that waste can be repurposed and that retail can be appealing and sustainable.

The retail space, almost entirely furnished with retail waste materials, is a powerful testament to the potential of discarded items. Through consumer awareness and an implemented take-back system, Brick by Brick encourages a shift towards responsible and conscious consumption and adopting circular retail practices.

Brick by Brick sets an example for the industry by bridging the gap between retail and sustainability, illustrating that waste reduction and consumer appeal can go hand in hand.

gif, statistics excess in retail
process of brick making
BRICK-MAKINGupcycling cardboard waste from e-commerce into pulp bricks.
VOID FILL LAMPair cushion void fills for parcel packaging converted into lamps.
brick texture image
BRICK TEXTURESraw and dyed pulp bricks.
image of axonometric building drawing
BRICK BY BRICKthe ground floor unit in the former siemens factory is divided linearly into a workshop and retail space through glass panels that allow visitors to take part in the upcycling process of retail waste and the repairing process of preloved items.
photo of material palette
MATERIAL PALETTEnew wall structures are made of blue-dyed rammed earth sourced from the construction work of the new builds on the factory site. in-house made cardboard pulp bricks are used for partition wall structures, as well as for furniture pieces. steel rods and recycled brushed steel underline the industrial features of the hosting space.
image of little renders of all design objects
DESIGN OBJECTS various wall structures and objects were designed to create a coherent design strategy focusing on the elementary.
collage of different brick colours and textures
EXEMPLARY WALL TEXTUREdue to the different kinds of cardboard in the brick-making batches, they all turn out to be unique. they vary in colour, texture, and size.
gif of renders. retail space
arched brick entrance
render, café and seating area
CAFÉ FOR ARRIVALthe café acts as an arrival point for visitors before starting their conscious retail experience. the café's counter also serves as a drop-off point for cardboard waste and a donation point for preloved items. a glass front divides the sorting area from the seating area, providing visual access to the process.
entrance through arched brick structure
ARCHED BRICK ENTRANCEvisitors and customers enter the retail space through an arched cardboard pulp brick structure that frames the view of the brick-making lab.
bricksscape drawing
render, collection point
BRICKSSCAPEat the retail route's end, the bricks are used for a lower display. a collection area for the purchased goods and an adjacent waiting area with a direct view of the textile lab complete the retail experience.
coffeetable drawing
render, jewellery stand
VOID FILL INSTALLATIONtwo curved brick walls enclose the jewellery stand. the column removed for the insertion of the large sliding glass doors between the retail and workshops supports the cardboard pulp surface of the display. an installation of void-fill lamps and mirrors hanging from the ceiling.
render, sorting area
SORTING AREAdropped off goods and waste are sorted in-house for the following processes. cardboard pulp blocks are the holding structure of the shelves.
render, workshop retail
BRICK BY BRICK LAB + RETAILthroughout the retail journey, there is always a visual and tactile link between what is produced and worked on and what is displayed.
render, meeting room
MEETING ROOMa meeting room divides the two labs, and offers space for quieter moments in the middle of the happening. for this purpose, pulp bricks are partly used, representing their diversity using different patterns.
textile lab, render
TEXTILE LABan overhead conveyor transports textiles from the sorting area to the textile lab, strategically using the ceiling height. here, the life cycle of these is subsequently extended.