Ayse Birsel + Bibi Seck
They came together from different worlds. Ayse Birsel grew up in Izmir, Turkey, a town over 2,000 years old. She studied industrial design at Middle Eastern Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, from 1981 to 1985. In 1989, a Fulbright scholarship brought her to Pratt Institute for her master's in industrial design.
Bibi Seck was born in Paris and spent his formative years in London, Paris, and Dakar. He received his master's in industrial design in 1990 from ESDI in Paris and worked for 12 years as lead designer for Renault.
They met in 2002 while working together on a Renault concept interior. Their collaboration worked beautifully and led to the formation of their studio, Birsel + Seck, in New York City.
Now, in their professional and personal lives, this wife-and-husband team shares a common vision enriched by each other's experiences and intellects.
They say it is the "human component of design" that motivates them:
"When we design, we design for the user. The day the user is alone with our product they need to feel that someone took good care of them.
Solving a problem gives meaning to our work. It's hard for us to design just for the sake of creating something with a new aesthetic or style.
We believe in collaborating with clients. Often we know less about a subject than they do. But ignorance can be bliss. We can be more daring, challenge existing solutions, or find new answers to old questions."
Their bold yet practical approach is delightfully clear in the products they create, such as Ayse's design of Herman Miller's Resolve system, and in Birsel + Seck's design of Herman Miller's Teneo storage furniture.
Ayse also designed the Zoë Washlet for the Japanese manufacturer TOTO, unofficially known as the world's most comfortable toilet seat. Bibi designed the F1 Micrograph watch for TAG Heuer and led the interior design teams for several award winning Renault vehicles. Other Birsel + Seck clients include Hewlett-Packard, HBF, Merati, and Target.
Birsel + Seck
New York, New York
Athena Award for Excellence in Furniture design, 2008
Brooklyn Museum of Art Young Designer Award, 2001
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award finalist, 2002
NeoCon Overall Best of Competition Award and Most Innovative Award for Resolve System, 1999
Industrial Design Excellence Award, 1996, for Zoe Washlet
VIA (French Furniture Industry Syndicate) Award, 1994, for furniture
ID magazine award, 1990, for the Water Room
European Car of the Year for Renault Scenic I (1997), Trafic (2002)
Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve for TAG Heuer F1 Micrograph watch, 2002