The Echo

    Istanbul, Turkey


    T.C. Ministry of Culture and Tourism 


    50 m²

    Melike Altınışık Architects

    Beyoğlu Light Exhibition

    Dream Design Factory 

    Erdem Akan

    MAA, MAALab

    Melike Altınışık, Bengü Özmutlu

    Melih Altınışık

    Atakan Gündüz, Gülnur Aktaş

    City of Angels – COA, Melih Altınışık 

    Line Lighting Design

    Mehmet Akif Sarı


Melike Altınışık Architects - MAA, takes part with the ‘THE ECHO’ installation in the Beyoğlu Light Exhibition, curated by Erdem Akan, as part of the Beyoğlu Cultural Road Festival which is organized to expand the international vision of Istanbul in terms of history, culture, architecture, economy and tourism and 'THE ECHO' hosted their visitors between October 30, 2021 and November 14, 2021 


Beyoğlu Light Exhibition hosts light installations of 11 artists on the route of Istiklal Avenue from Gezi Park to Galataport. In the exhibition, which includes artists from disciplines such as art, design and architecture, the designers draw attention to the light, the dark, the night, the concepts such as color and form made visible in the light, togetherness, existence, change and transformation, differences and tolerance.


MAA establishes a unique dialogue with the citizens by making the invisible visible with ‘THE ECHO’ of Historical Matbah Emini Hasan Ağa Fountain (1649), which is abandoned, forgotten and one of the most important witnesses of many encounters and re-meanings in the city.

‘THE ECHO’ installation can be visited on corner of Lüleci Hendek Street connecting Yüksek Kaldırım Street and Fırçacı Street in Beyoğlu where different cultures meet throughout history of Istanbul and which still debates cosmopolitanism today.

History and Location

In Beyoğlu, which is still debates the concept of cosmopolitanism where different cultures meet throughout the history of Istanbul, is built at the beginning of the tunnel, on Yüksek Kaldırım Street, which connects Lüleci Hendek Street and Fırçacı Street, in the classical style of cut stone, in the palace during the reign of Sultan Mehmet IV, in 1649 by Hasan Ağa, the “matbah emini”, that is, the person who responsible for the kitchen. 

For many years, the fountain has remained in disrepair, has become a street practice of vandalism and has been abandoned to its fate in the city. The Matbah Emini Hasan Ağa Fountain, with its location in the Culture Road route, which is the main fiction of the project and being one of the most important witnesses of many encounters and re-interpretations in the city is one of the most important factors in its selection as an installation site.

Design Approach

Our installation 'THE ECHO' on the fountain that is located right in the middle of the dialogue between the city and people, is like a living being, living symbiotically with a fountain in front of the Galata Tower in Beyoglu, living with a city, with a person, with a place, like an alga clinging to a fungus. It is a metamorphic catalyst that has all the dynamics of the user in the city metabolism, defined itself on the fountain, infiltrated from the walls to the fountain, from the fountain to the streets, almost invading first the audience, then the fountain, and then the city with the streets. 

'THE ECHO' was formed with a design approach in a symbiotic relationship, that is established by holding onto the fountain from its corners and spreading randomly like a water surface on a structure that starts from the walls behind the fountain and occupies the fountain, living as the city's water reservoir or on a structure trying to survive.

Two living things in a symbiotic bond live with each other as one approximately in one part or all of their lives. The most important commonality of living things in symbiosis is that they ignore each other's evolutionarily undeveloped features. 


It bring their developed features to the fore, as well as benefit and nourish the being they live in jointly. Time passes, and beings who benefit each other symbiotically form a bond that is too tight to be separated from each other. After a while, they become unable to live without being each other because they begin to define their vital circulations over each other. 'THE ECHO' also appears as a descriptor of symbiotic processes such as water-fountain, human-city, and time-space in urban metabolism within this circulation network.

Duality of Awareness

'Could all these synergies or contradictions, dilemmas, balances, complementarities find a place in a corner of the fountain; can it flow from a body (fountain) to the streets, from a street to an avenue, from an avenue to a city, can it create an echo in another body (human) arising from the mutualism of meaning and complementarity of self and what is lived?' question was the most fundamental question of the design approach that was wanted to be left unanswered, or the answer wanted to be expressed by the user. 

During these interrogations, 'THE ECHO' was the unfolding of the fountain, which has witnessed many vital “Moments” and “Memories” for many years, just like a rock living in water holds algae over time, was also a discourse within the city and perhaps a dialogue that is established with the city and the urban one step further from this discourse.

'THE ECHO' is an organism that has been formed in  a design fiction that found its 

definition in the interstices of the past, future, and present, which has started to live with the fountain that it holds by scattering like water particles scattered around, seeping into the surface of the fountain body. It is a challenge to stasis, exhaustion, or burnout, which can adapt to chaotic changes in time and space, which differentiates the discourse of every user or viewer on every street around it, in an existence that makes you feel that you are living and alive.


'THE ECHO' is an installation product that is structurally derived from the recycling and use of wastewater pipes and supports the reduction of carbon footprint. The pipes come together like drops of water forms a cluster of lichens that surrounds a fountain. The construction of pipes forming a parabolic form is a symbol of a transition and a process, even a moment, as transparent as water. 

They turn from pipes into a module, and from modules into lichen webs that surround the fountain. At the same time, 'THE ECHO' s symbiotic relationship with the city and the natural and artificial dynamics in the city is an answer to the question of how it can define itself with light, which is another form of questioning when creating the main fiction of design.

Dialogue with Darkness

'THE ECHO' is not the product of a fiction consisting of water pipes that are understood only by themselves and are related to the form of these pipes and the design that occurs in the resulting product. In street dynamics, especially the Beyoğlu area, which is designated as an installation area, and the Matbah Emini Hasan Ağa Fountain, it shows an active and active attitude every hour of the day, like a living organism. The existence of lights filtering from an apartment, a car, a shop, a phone, a signboard or Galata, or in other words leaving them into darkness. 


'THE ECHO' is perhaps another expression of being able to be defined every hour of the day without using light. How the symbiotic relationship it establishes with the darkness in the city is understood by the user or the audience is not a question that has a single and pure answer. The user searches for and finds a realization in the dark or a reflection under the lights. The fountain, which wants to make its voice heard again, this time screams so loud that the streets echo with this sound. This reflection and this echo are also an emphasis on the awareness under Galata in its location.


As time goes on, the seasons change, and just like the fountain tells, water filters from the clouds to its cheeks. Organisms act as a protector by hugging the fountain during these seasonal transitions. The waters meet their echo before the fountain, flow through pipes, then through the foot of the fountain. The fountain and its echo are the descriptors of the symbiotic bond underwater. 'THE ECHO's' symbiotic bond with the fountain is a process, change, transition, moment, flow, life, transformation and retelling of a struggle. 

At this moment, this process, this transformation reverberates from the walls to the fountain, from the fountain to the person, from the person to the streets, from the streets to the avenue, to the city like a voice shouting. This silent cry tells the stories of the fountain's re-acquisition of meaning and re-existence from the urban memory. As long as the installation cries out its existence physically on the fountain, emotionally in urban and urban memory, it spreads and multiplies like an organism.