Tekfur Sarayi, Istanbul, Turkey
2016 – 2019
Client: Municipality of Istanbul, Turkey
Architectural and exhibition design: Guicciardini & Magni Architetti
Lighting Design: Arch. Massimo Iarussi
Graphic Design: Rovai Weber Design
A UNESCO world heritage site, the Tekfur Sarayi in Istanbul is the only civil building from the Byzantine period to have come down to us. Also known as the Palace of the Porphyrogenitus in homage to the emperor Constantine VII, the building was constructed in a position overlooking the Golden Horn and in the vicinity of the city’s Theodosian Walls, later becoming part of the Blachernae complex where the emperors lived from the 12th century on. Changing fortunes of use and neglect – including its transformation into a factory of ceramic tiles for architecture in the 18th century and later into a menagerie for exotic animals and then a poorhouse – have led to the extraordinary stratification of the present day, which has motivated the restoration and upgrading of the complex by the municipality of Istanbul, for use as a museum of itself. Among the other activities, the Palace has also been used as a factory of ceramics for architecture. The theme of ceramics has been particularly deepened in the redevelopment project, with the exhibition of testimonies of the Ottoman era, when ceramic works of fine workmanship were made in the palace. The museum is laid out on three floors and in its huge rooms – where multimedia displays have been installed – you can find out about the history of the place and the city.