The MedBodrum festivities took place at the Maçakızı Hotel and Villa Maçakızı in Bodrum

Experiences are the future of luxury. Darius Sanai visits MedBodrum, a visionary new type of festival, combining fabulous cuisine, vibey music, art and culture, in one of the hottest Mediterranean destinations

An assemblage of famed and Michelin-starred chefs cooking in the open air by the Mediterreanean; a mellowness of Bossa Nova from Bebel Gilberto, singing just with an acoustic guitarist as an accompanist, just centimetres from the water’s edge;

guests moving seamlessly from Chandon wine to Caipirinhas; a semi-outdoor display of art dotted around two properties, a boat ride from each other, featuring works by Marina Abramovic, Antony Gormley and LUX’s own chief contributing editor, the collector and artist Maryam Eisler, among others.


The festival features top international cuisine

Welcome to MedBodrum, a new type of festival, whose inaugural edition took place last week over four days in the spring sunshine and moonlight in a bay surrounded by deep forest just outside the chi-chi Turkish Riviera resort of Bodrum.

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Carlo Bernardini’s recipes are inspired by his late grandmother’s cooking

The aural and sensory entertainment, in what promises to be an annual festival, was stunning. The music came from Skip Marley on the first night through Mestiza and to Gilberto as the grand finale.

There were different presentations of cuisine – from formal dinners to the memorable beachside BBQ cookout – from chefs including Aret Sahakyan, Carlo Bernardini, Alejandro Serrano and Deepanker Khosla.


Michelin-starred cuisine for all palates

Never have art collectors been quite so spoiled for choice for sampling everything from exquisite langoustines to a dairy-free vat of pasta with fresh tomato, in a Med-side luxury location – except possibly in their own homes.

And that’s what made MedBodrum special: given the organic villa-style architecture and intimacy of Macakizi, a resort that is a go-to stop off from many superyacht summers, it felt like a big house party, your house party, but organised by someone else who knows all the right chefs and musicians and artists.

Festival guests enjoyed DJs and a variety of top international acts

(Fru Tholstrup and Jane Cowan‘s curation of artworks was seen both at Macakizi, the eco-hotel at the heart of the festival, and the Villa Macakizi private palace a boat ride across the bay.)

But the most compelling memory is that of a wholly new concept created by Sahir Erozan, Macakizi’s owner and the creative mind behind this celebration.

Erozan is a restaurateur and hotelier, and he is wrapping together three areas – gastronomy, art and music, with a good dash of fine wine thrown in – in a way that nobody else does.


Sahir Erozan, the owner of the Maçakızı Hotel in Bodrum, with friends art the MedBodrum evening events

ski marley

Skip Marley, grandson of Bob Marley and Rita Marley, performing at the event in Bodrum.

Luxury consumers love eating well, collect art, and enjoy bringing performers in for private concerts. And yet these activities are too often separated: there is no art at the Miami Food & Wine, no music at the Venice Biennale, and anybody who has been to an Art Basel or Frieze knows the issue with the cuisine and hospitality (there is none).

Erozan is bringing them together all under the banner of the Mediterranean.

Read more: Leading MACAN, Indonesia’s first contemporary art museum

It’s a new kind of luxury experience, one that can travel. Everyone knows that experiences are the new obsession for luxury consumers. There remain challenges: how to integrate the art (and what kind of art?); who to invite and who not to invite – the hotel remained open to regular paying guests; which brands to involve, or not; how to create a “tribe” like the most successful clubs, from Studio 54 in 1980 to Soho House in 1999 and Oswalds in 2024.


Artworks by Matous Hasa. Art is one of the pillars of the festival, along with cuisine, music and sustainability

And there is a sustainability element which was a little uncertain: we would say be bold and have conversations with regenerative ocean innovators in the mornings and afternoons, before the music and cuisine (and caipirinhas) really kick in.

For MedBodrum felt like a visiting a club (LUX is too young to have been to Studio 54 but we understand it was an invigorating experience), albeit a virtual one.

People were in their own tribe, curated, like all the best clubs, by one all-seeing owner, in the shape of the permanently cigarred Sahir.

darius sanai

Medbodrum guests on the beachside deck at the Macakizi

With the tones of Bebel Gilberto purring “happy birthday to me” still in our ears (she performed on her birthday, and Erozan presented her with a gift, a cake and some Dom Perignon at the end of her set) we look forward to seeing how MedBodrum develops onwards and upwards for a new and even more international generation.

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Greenhouses with woman walking
Greenhouses with woman walking

Strawberry Greenhouses by Leyla Emektar, a finalist in EEA’s photography competition

Strawberry Greenhouses (above), is one of the finalists’ entries of the European Environment Agency’s latest photographic competition. Part of a series including the image below, it was photographed in Turkey by Leyla Emektar, an art photographer and visual arts teacher. The next competition’s winners will be announced in summer 2020

Woman walking behind greenhouse

An image from the same series by Leyla Emektar

Find out more:

These images were originally published in the Spring 2020 Issue.

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Render of a timber stacked contemporary structure
Render of a timber stacked contemporary structure

OMM designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates. © NAARO

Last weekend saw the opening of Odunpazari Modern Museum (OMM), a major new art museum  founded by art collector Erol Tabanca and designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates in North West Turkey. Here, we recall the event in pictures

Home to Erol Tabanca’s 1000 piece contemporary art collection alongside a curated program of exhibitions, OMM officially opened its doors to the public on Sunday 8th September following a glamorous launch party on the Saturday night.

Black tie guests at VIP opening party

Guests at the opening party of OMM

Guests at VIP opening party in front of OMM branded wall

Erol Tabanca with Kengo Kuma and Yuki Ikeguchi

The opening celebrations saw Japanese bamboo artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV completing the final touches of his largest ever installation, alongside performances by Turkish artist Lin Pesto, and singer-songwriter Jonathan Bree , and two immersive installations by British digital art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast.

Contemporary bamboo art installation expanding from a museum gallery wall

The largest installation to date by Japanese bamboo-artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV © NAARO

Read more: OMM’s Creative Director Idil Tabanca on creating an art institution

The night also launched the museum’s first exhibition Vuslat​ (loosely translated as The Union). The group show features a selection of over 100 works by 60 leading artists predominantly from Turkey including Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Canan Tolon, Erol Akyavaş, İlhan Koman, Ramazan Bayrakoğlu, Sinan Demirtaş and Tayfun Erdoğmuş.

Guests attending a VIP party

Rana, Idil and Erol Tabanca

Woman standing in blue and gold blazer with red lips

Fashion designer Dilara Fındıkoğlu has designed the uniforms for the museum’s staff in collaboration with Creative Director Idil Tabanca

Digital art display in a museum

For more information visit:

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Contemporary light well inside a building made from wooden panels
Interiors of an art gallery space with wooden light well feature at centre

Inside OMM designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates. Photo by Batuhan Keskiner

This September will see the opening of Odunpazari Modern Museum (OMM), a major new art museum in Eskişehir, Turkey. Designed by architects Kengo Kuma and Associates, the museum is the brainchild of art collector Erol Tabanca, whose collection will provide the permanent exhibition, and his daughter Idil Tabanca who sits at the helm as Creative Director. We speak to Idil about her multidisciplinary approach, creating an international cultural destination and the challenge of bringing contemporary art to new audiences.
Portait of a young woman wearing a blazer and red lipstick

Idil Tabanca. Photo by Emily Hope

LUX: You were one of the founding editors of the successful New York-based art and fashion magazine Bullett – do you see yourself primarily as a journalist?
Idil Tabanca: No, not at all. I studied digital media because I always thought I was going to go into film. I wanted to do set design, production design, that kind of thing. Growing up that was my dream. I just wanted to make stuff. After I graduated, I worked in film for a couple of years on various projects in the US and then I was called in to do production design for a film in New York and that’s where I met the people I ended up setting up the magazine with. We just fell into, it was very organic and we didn’t have any money so we became our own publishers because we had all this great content that we wanted to put out. There are so many stories which aren’t at all luxurious like we would get our friends to dress up as catering staff for the cover shoot of some Oscar winning actor. We didn’t have the money to hire actual caterers but we wanted to keep up the appearance. It was like the con that didn’t end.

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LUX: And you’ve gone from that to being the Creative Director of OMM.
Idil Tabanca: Well yes, and this is a very different project because for starters, it’s my family’s foundation. My father [Erol Tabanca] started collecting art about thirty years ago. It started out just as a pure love for art and the pleasure he got from it, there was no strategy involved. He was buying what he wanted to buy. As time progressed, he filled up his house and then his entire office, he didn’t have enough room for the art and he also wanted to share the works that he found so inspiring so he started the foundation. That was around the time I was closing the magazine because the internet happened. It happened to the world. So many magazines were closing. The museum is a great opportunity because if I was at another institution like this, it would’ve taken me a really long time to be here. I felt like there could be an opportunity for me to have a voice, to have a say for the young people that needed this kind of a platform back in Turkey.

I feel like there’s huge potential in Turkey for artists, but not necessarily any organisations and platforms. The exciting part of the project for me is that I can actually give young people that opportunity.

Man and woman standing on steps outside contemporary building

Erol & Idil Tabanca pictured outside the museum. Photo by Gökhan Polat

LUX: Have you always shared your father’s passion for art?
Idil Tabanca: It was part of the magazine: we covered art, fashion, culture and cinema. I have always been interested in video and photography because of my studies, but I don’t have this amazing knowledge of art history or anything like that. It wasn’t part of my education so I’m learning that part now. Even just getting familiar with the art collection is a huge amount of work. I feel like I’ve got a good sense of aesthetics, but I’m learning the rest. I’m exposing myself to a lot of art, I read a lot, go to a lot of exhibitions.

Read more: London to Cornwall in a luxury Mercedes-Benz camper van

LUX: Can you tell us more about your concept for the museum?
Idil Tabanca: We’re from Eskişehir as a family and people from Eskişehir are very proud because it’s like a secular, intellectual, very young and fun town in Turkey. It’s very unique. They say it’s like a European city in Turkey. People are very open minded and because of that, there’s a huge potential for young people. There are also three art universities. My father has always felt that he wanted to give back to that community in some way.

We chose Kengo Kuma, whose work is so iconic, to make the museum iconic. Bilbao was an industrial city before the Guggenheim came and now it’s known as an art destination; I think Eskişehir has that same potential. For a long time in Turkey because of the regime and what’s happened there, there hasn’t been a lot of exciting developments. We also don’t have a huge museum culture. I don’t have any memories of going to museums with my family. I love that we might be able to change that for some people, and to change the place. Having a museum like this, starts an exchange, it becomes a bridge between cultures. For example, we have Kengo Kuma’s work  and we have Japanese artists who are showing. We want different cultures to be able to merge in the space.

Facade of a contemporary building made from wooden panels

Photo by Batuham Keskiner

Contemporary light well inside a building made from wooden panels

Photo by Batuhan Keskiner

LUX: We hear that the museum is also going to have a strong connection with fashion, is that right?
Idil Tabanca: Yes, I want every aspect of the museum to be like an art work in its own right and I’ve got Turkish fashion designer Dilara Findikoglu to design the uniforms for the museum staff. She’s blown up recently and dresses people like Madonna. I think that she’ll be the creative director of somewhere like Alexander McQueen very soon. But the reason for collaborating with her was, firstly, to challenge people. She is completely embraced internationally and keeps winning fashion awards, but in Turkey I feel like it’s part of our culture to be suspicious of anything that’s actually good and we do that to artists too. We don’t appreciate them at home as much as you do in Western culture. In Turkey, there’s no sense of protecting the things that are valuable and that’s the same with ruins even, you’re just allowed to walk all over the place. So I want to work with and give value to artists and designers from our communities that are doing really well outside of the country. That’s the reason we’re putting together a homecoming show to start a dialogue about who we are as a culture and why we don’t appreciate these people or talk abut them. We have local celebrities, but they’re not the people who are making a difference in the world.

Sculpture of a girl asleep on a sofa

‘Sleeping Girl’ by Hans op de Beeck is one of the artworks in the permanent collection. Photo by Kayhan Kaygusuz

LUX: And how will the exhibition programme work?
Idil Tabanca: We have the permanent collection, which will constantly change and be curated by different people and then we’ll have travelling shows and events. Exhibitions by other artists who have nothing to do with the permanent collection. For example, we’re bringing work by Marshmallow Laser Feast (who recently had a VR experience at the Saatchi gallery) to the opening. They’re really interesting because they use technology to bring people back to nature – I’m really excited to collaborate with them. Also the other part which will be so exciting for me is that we’ll get people coming to the museum who haven’t been exposed to anything, we’re going to get such a raw audience.

Portrait painting of a man's head sleeping

One of the selected works from the opening exhibition: Uyuyan Adam (2010) by Ramazan Bayrakoğlu. Image by Ozan Cakmak

LUX: What are local attitudes towards contemporary art? Is there much of an existing art scene?
Idil Tabanca: Yes, there is definitely an art scene. There’s a tiny wooden museum, glass blowing is huge and there are lots of little shops that make ceramics. There’s part of the town which is all these old houses, which look like they would have hundreds of years a go. There’s a wax museum, which is hilarious because no-one looks like they’re supposed to, but it receives 11,000 visitors on the weekend, which demonstrates the lack of cultural activities. But yes, we’re in talks with the art universities. We want to have residency artists that come in from abroad and to give them access to the facilities. We’re also going to organise discussions and education programmes. There’s the only animation studio in Turkey there so there’s definitely a lot of potential.

Read more: Savoir Beds’ MD Alistair Hughes on the value of craftsmanship

LUX: Are there any contemporary Turkish artists that you’re particularly excited about at the moment?
Idil Tabanca: Nilbar Güreş’ work is phenomenal. She’s based in Vienna. Another one of my favourite Turkish artists is Sukran Moral. She’s definitely someone I’d love to bring [to the museum] sometime in the future. She’s pretty established and is currently based in Italy.  She’s fantastic. Also Fatma Bucak is another young Turkish artist that I’d like to bring to the museum. She has some wonderful videos.

Artwork depicting an Asian girl leaning against a white box

‘Aylin’ (2014) by Sinan Demirtaş will also feature in the opening exhibition. Image by Kayhan Kaygusuz

LUX: How much of a consideration is sustainability?
Idil Tabanca: The building is made from sustainable forests, and we are trying to make it all as sustainable as possible, but in a place where that dialogue hasn’t started yet, it’s going to be tougher for us. So we have this task of talking to people and explaining to them why it’s important, why we’re not giving out plastic bags for example. I think it’s the responsibility of institution like ours to be a leader on these kinds of things.

LUX: Lastly, for first time visitors to Eskişehir, what are your hot tips for things to do and see?
Idil Tabanca: Oh my god, there’s so much to do! There’s a really good thermal spa. Then there’s also this fake Disneyland that I think is fascinating. You go and Snow White has her wig on sideways, it’s just a very weird place. The old part of town too where they have all these really cute houses and artists with their own little studios and shops selling handmade things. The area is called Odunpazarı, and it’s so beautiful. The museum is right in the middle of everything so the best way is to just walk around and discover the area.

OMM will officially open in September 2019, for more information visit:

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