Characterized by its unique features and historical charm, the Casa Botter magnificent building serves as a living relic whispering tales of a bygone era.
Botter Apartment, situated in the historic Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, stands as a testament to the city's architectural grandeur and cultural richness. Botter Apartment stands as a paramount exemplar of the Art Nouveau movement in Istanbul. The wrought iron motifs on the facade, featuring female heads adorned with bows and ribbons, along with the floral and rose theme enveloping the middle floors, distinctly highlight elements reflecting the Art Nouveau perspective.
Crafting Elegance: The Tale of the Italian Tailor Botter
In the 19th century, Istanbul welcomed Jean Botter, a Dutch tailor whose migration bore the seeds of cultural fusion. Commencing his craft as a scissor artisan at the Mir Frére & Cotterau workshop in Pera, Botter's journey unfolded to a role as the stylistic advisor to Sultan Abdulhamid II. Despite being the Sultan's official tailor, Botter abstained from tailoring clothes for the monarch himself. Instead, he curated the Sultan's wardrobe, shaping civilian and military attire in accordance with Abdulhamid's discerning taste and approval.
Sultan Abdulhamid II, acknowledging Botter's contributions, pledged the establishment of a fashion house and entrusted Italian architect Raimondo D'Aronco with the design. Opting for a cast iron structure with stone cladding on the exterior, D'Aronco meticulously illustrated each stone's placement on the facade. Adjacent to the Swedish Consulate, the apartment was constructed in contiguous order on a narrow plot to maximize space.
Within Botter Apartment, the ground floor, mezzanine, and the space between the first floor housed Botter's workshop, studio, fitting room, and stores. The upper floors, however, encompassed rooms where the Botter family of six lived their lives. Botter's Fashion House swiftly became a haven for the city's elite, hosting fashion shows that presented Parisian creations in the mezzanine of Botter Apartment. The Botter family's departure coincided with the declining interest in fashion during the tumultuous days of the Ottoman Empire in war-weary Istanbul. In 1917, the Botter family migrated to France. Over the years, the floors of Botter Apartment changed hands multiple times, being leased for various residences and offices. Notably, poet and writer Ferit Edgü resided in the apartment with his office and home for an extended period.
Acquired by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) in 2017, Casa Botter underwent an extensive restoration in pursuit of preserving the city's cultural heritage and transforming Istanbul into an art center. Upon completion of restoration efforts, the building, now named the Istanbul Museum of Contemporary Art, commenced its new life as a beacon for contemporary art under the auspices of the IBB.
Botter Apartment stands as a significant testament to Istanbul's rich cultural heritage and Art Nouveau architecture, reborn as a museum showcasing the vibrant spirit of contemporary art.