Ali Tayar

ALI TAYAR (1959 - 2016) was an architect born in Istanbul, Turkey. He attended the Deutsche Schule Istanbul before entering the architectural engineering program at the University of Stuttgart in Germany. In Stuttgart, he received an education in keeping with the modernist traditions of minimalism, functionalism, building system design, and prefabrication. Following his time in Germany, Tayar received his Masters of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where his graduate thesis, “Design Approaches to Structural Optimization,” was published in 1986.

Tayar’s first job after graduate school saw him designing airplane hangars for Lev Zetlin Associates in New York. In 1988, he joined the team that designed the Carlos Moseley Music Pavilion for the Metropolitan Opera, a portable band shell that facilitated outdoor performances in the New York area. Tayar spent the majority of his career working in and around New York City where, in 1993, he founded Parallel Design Partnership with Ellen Levy, a close friend and early patron of Tayar who serves as an associate professor in the Media Studies Department at Pratt Institute. In 1995, his “NEA Table”, a recycled particleboard construction designed while he was living on the funds from a National Endowment for the Arts grant, was featured in the Museum of Modern Art exhibition “Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design”, curated by Paola Antonelli.

Tayar embraced the streamlined functionalism of modernist design combined with cutting-edge technology. Tayar’s furniture and interior designs, which were engineered to function as a “kit-of-parts”, were inspired by Fritz Haller’s modular furniture designs for the Swiss firm USM Modular Furniture. International Contract Furnishings (ICF) and USM briefly mass produced several of Tayar’s designs, including the Rasamny chairs and the Plaza Screen. Tayar’s architectural portfolio includes the interiors for Pop and Waterloo restaurants in New York City, the Omnia Hotel in Zermatt, Switzerland, and numerous private residences in the United States, South Africa and Lebanon.

(Source: MIT Library; Image Credit: Interior Design Magazine)