About Us

Kalyon Kültür defines itself as a young communal space for arts & culture. We believe promoting today’s cultural production lies in being in touch with our artistic and cultural heritage, connecting generations. Rediscovering the past is essential in flourishing the future.

The deeper the roots spread, the higher the branches will reach. Kalyon Kültür aims to be the body that connects the roots and branches.
Dedicated to provide suitable ground for dialogue, Kalyon Kültür considers diversity in discourse as a substantial element in social transformation.

Kalyon Kültür aims to embrace social issues with collaborative initiatives to contribute to cultural life.
In 2020, Taş Mansion was inaugurated as Kalyon Cultural Centre, effectively receiving a new function as a new public meeting place which is in constant growth thanks to the strong bonds between the past and the present of culture and art.

A Brief History of
Köse Mehmet Raif Paşa
Mansion

Originally commissioned by Sultan Abdülhamid II, Taş Mansion was given to Mehmet Raif Paşa in late 1889 and came to be known after its new owner. Mehmet Raif Paşa (Köse) (1836, Crete – 1911, Istanbul) was an Ottoman statesman who acted as governor, minister, vizier and president of the State Council in the final years of the Empire. Servet Hanım (d. 1913) and Mehmet Raif Paşa’s daughter İhsan Raif Hanım (1877, Beirut – 1926, Paris), who later became a renowned poet, lived in the mansion at different times. As İhsan Raif put it, Taş Mansion was a place to nourish on poetry, music and art.

İhsan Raif Hanım was the first female poet of Turkey to use the poetic form of syllabic verse. During her short life, İhsan Raif Hanım wrote and composed 19 pieces but she also wrote poems that were composed by others. At only 13 years of age, she wrote and later composed “Kimseye Etmem Şikâyet”, a poem that was later recomposed by Kemanî Sarkis Efendi in a musical mode called nihavend makam, ultimately making it one of the greatest hits of Turkish classical music.
Following İhsan Raif Hanım’s death, the Mardin Family moved into the mansion in 1929. Public Relations consultant Betül Mardin lived in the mansion for some time, and her brother and music producer Arif Mardin was born there. Subsequently, the mansion was used as a Community Centre for Education and then as the offices of Şişli District Governorship. The building was restored by the governorship in 2013 before being handed over to the General Directorate of Foundations. Kalyon Cultural Foundation rented the mansion in 2019.

In 2020, Taş Mansion was inaugurated as Kalyon Cultural Centre, effectively receiving a new function as a new public meeting place which is in constant growth thanks to the strong bonds between the past and the present of culture and art.

Architectural and
Decorative Features

Kalyon Kültür has chosen not to carry out restoration work inside the Köse Mehmet Raif Paşa Mansion. The only addition has been the modular glass winter garden at the back of the building.

The interior design of the mansion bears the traces of three distinct phases. The first phase involves the original interior design executed during the construction of the mansion which was revealed by scraping away the superficial layers on the walls.

The second phase saw the addition of a second floor to the building. Decorations from this period include the delicate paintings known as kalemişi applied on canvas on the ceilings of the corridors and the two halls overlooking Rumeli Avenue, and those applied directly on plaster on the wall of the first hall which was also revealed by scraping away the top layers of plaster.

It appears that the building subsequently underwent comprehensive renovations. During the work, the decorations of the adorned rooms on the ground floor and the adorned grand hall on the first floor were replaced with gilded stucco decorations and the original kalemişi paintings on the walls of the adorned rooms on the ground floor and the first hall on the second floor were covered up.

A Baroque character can be identified in all three phases in terms of overall style while on the façade of the building Neo-Gothic patterns are dominant.
The transformation in Ottoman art that started with the Tulip Era marks the beginning of the influence of Baroque, Rococo, Imperial, Neo-Classical, Neo-Gothic and Orientalist patterns in architectural decorations, either independently or in eclectic combinations. The traditional style was replaced with C and S curved arches adorned with acanthus or oyster motifs, column capitals in the Corinthian and Ionic order, blossoming wreaths, flower bouquets, curtain motifs, traditional motifs and scenic compositions framed with these motifs.

The wall paintings seen on the interior decorations of the building are of particular importance. Distinct examples of this transformation in Ottoman art are seen as early as the Tulip Era. By the 19th century, the tradition of wall painting had gained popularity and themes were diversified. Depictions of nature and landscape scenes were popular choices. Besides Istanbul sceneries from places like Fenerbahçe, Kalamış, the Maiden’s Tower and Göksu, there was also a demand for depictions of imaginary sceneries. The paintings found on the ceiling of the first hall on the second floor of the mansion are clear examples of this tradition.