Even in Turkey, which has a secular government, it is unusual for a woman to achieve tremendous success in the professional domain. As the first woman to design a mosque, Zeynep Fadillioglu is a remarkable exception to the general rule.
Born in Istanbul, 1955, her license studies of Computer Science began at Sussex University and were furthered in Computer Programming and System Analysis at Control Data Institute. In 1978, her interests shifted to Art History and Design at Inchbald School of Design. Initially employed as a System Analyst, her husband’s restaurant and club business enabled Zeynep to segue into the interior design world. After designing and building more than 20 restaurants and clubs, she launched her own firm, Zeynep Fadillioglu Design, which has designed and built more than 140 projects. The company employs a team of 18 people including ten architects as well as interior and product designers, color experts, industrial designers, artists and graphic specialists, and is licensed in Qatar, Holland, India and Turkey.
Fadillioglu’s commission to redesign the Sakirin Mosque in Instanbul has garnered her both local and international accolades. Keeping to her mission to employ and recognize women’s role in the working world, a rare happenstance in the Islamic environment, even many of the construction crew were female. Begun in 2009, the project was just recently completed.
The Sakirin Mosque is an impressive structure, subtly blending modern techniques and materials into a strikingly conservative design.
Presently, in addition to heading up Zeynep Fadillioglu Design, Zeynep also holds the position of Design Management and Culture Programme Instructor at Istanbul Bilgi University, one of Turkey’s leading universities. The institution has recently joined the Laureate Universities Network, where the professionally-oriented curriculum with an international perspective helps prepare Laureate students of both genders to achieve and succeed in the global marketplace and make a positive difference in communities around the world, an ethos that Fadillioglu not only ascribes to professionally and personally but one that has earned her a unique and laudable place in both Islamic and global society.
Awards: 2002 Andrew Martin International Designer of the Year Award
(London) 2005 Modern Designer of the Year Award from
Design and Decoration Awards (London)