How might we create furniture that responds to the needs of contemporary work and learning spaces?

CNVS is a furniture brand designed by a transdisciplinary team of designers at ATÖLYE and created in partnership with local fabricators to help create flexible spaces using ecologically responsible materials.

Project Team

Begüm Ural, Berna Erenoğlu, Bilge Nur Saltık, Burak Koçak, Büşra Tunç, Dara Kılıçoğlu, Ece Çiftçi, Elif Karaköse, Engin Ayaz, Mina Yancı, Necdet Yağız Özkan, Nesile Yalçın, Özgür Önurme, Rezzan Hasoğlu

Project Lead

Nesile Yalçın


Yerçekim (Photo)


KBS (Manufacturing), Selim Keskinoğlu (Metal Craftsmanship), Tayfur Somer (Wood Craftsmanship)

When designing the space for ATÖLYE, we needed a modular, robust, ecologically sustainable and affordable furniture set. After doing some market research, it was evident that furnitures as such didn’t exist, locally or globally.

The existing furnitures either lacked proper detailing, or they were not robust enough to withstand heavy usage.

“The world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau

As a framework, the idea of “canvas” emerged, emphasizing a background that is open to endless variations along with the minimum infrastructure to hold the space together. Conceptually, CNVS can be interpreted through its meaning in biology: Copy Number Variations (CNVs), used to describe the variation in the number of the copies of a particular gene in the DNA of an individual. The idea of a permutation-based furniture was exciting for the whole team.

CNVS was born built upon the following design principles:

Ecological materials: We should use FSC-approved plywood, recycled OSB and locally sourced metal.

Wheels: To create maximum flexibility, almost all models ought to have durable wheels with stoppers.

Minimalism: In a deeply reductionist approach, there should not be any excess design move, formal or functional, in any of the units.

In response to this self-briefing, a collection of tables, separators, accessories and light units were developed over the course of 2.5 years. Each item was iterated relentlessly, using both paper-sketch feedback sessions as well as in-situ prototypes.

Tables can be joined and separated, rearranged to make space for seminars, workshops or individual work stations. With their wheels, detachable separator channels, and rounded corners, they suggest flexible working and smooth circulation. More than eight size options provide a fit for almost all spatial arrangement scenarios.

In terms of vertical separators, triangular mesh panels are designed as a dynamic, minimal furniture to meet the ever-changing needs of formative spaces for thinking and doing. With their built-in wheels, these lightweight, structurally optimized expanded metal separators create an optimum amount of flexibility. The separator divides the space, yet remains as a perforated surface, for the in between passing gazes and social interaction. Alternative uses span from coat hangers to photo displays, custom-made bookshelves to hanging plant pots.

Another vertical unit is the booths, which is designed to create a semi private space within a common space. Recycled OSB is used for the exterior surfaces, natural felt and sound absorber sponge supports the quick video calls and isolated working methods. Group meetings and conversations can also take place in hubs which allows people to spend spare time without leaving the common work space.

In terms of accessories, whiteboard surfaces are optional for capturing ideas during brainstorms. The back-side is made with uncolored felt, providing a bulletin board as well as sound insulation.

ATÖLYE team developed its existing CNVS furniture line with new modular and flexible products and integrated into Private Sezin School Roof Space Project.

The CNVS brand was debuted in Milano Design Week at Ventura Lambrate in April 2016, along with the CNVS website. The feedback to date has been very positive at a global scale, where the brand has garnered attention from Designboom, Dezeen, Design Milk and other sites. The furniture line has been used in various workspaces across Istanbul, both within and outside ATÖLYE’s architectural projects.

Moreover, the brand’s desk lighting unit, LIMINAL, was funded via a successful Kickstarter campaign and is currently in production. Moreover, the brand’s desk lighting unit, LIMINAL, was funded via a successful Kickstarter campaign and is currently in production.