Başak is an Entrepreneur, Senior Design Strategist and Design Educator trained in Industrial Design and Business Strategy services for shaping, driving and accelerating innovation for organizations by bringing to her clients a unique combination of strategic business development, sustainable design development and community building expertise for over 20 years.
She provides her clients and their teams leadership in growing global business through new market explorations for static brands, creation of new product solutions based on design strategy as well as a vision of improved product experiences through insights based on design research findings. In her practice, Başak holds a consistent track record of leading and inspiring highly performing creative teams that deliver innovative product and experiences from conception to end use. Her diverse client base ranges from global consultancies and designing value driving opportunities for large retailers as well as start ups.
In her recent role as the Chair of Industrial Designers Society of America, San Francisco Chapter, she leads the efforts of bringing communities together by organizing events that spark meaningful conversations.
For Basak the most meaningful aspects of teaching are influencing the next generation of designers to design experiences that make a positive impact in the world. Başak’s way of giving back to the design community is by teaching design research at the Industrial Design Department at California College of Arts in San Francisco. She mentors senior thesis students on their investigative research journey that leads to their final thesis projects. Her expertise is leading design research partnerships between Bay Area think tanks, innovation studios, nonprofits and industrial design student studios where students learn and demonstrate the value of design research, by working with the influencers of the design world while delivering professional work to professional clients.
In 2015 Başak founded the Berkeley Turkish School where she leads the efforts in creating a curriculum that incorporates design thinking, leadership and sustainability as its core values.
Başak holds a Bachelor’s of Industrial Design from Syracuse University, and a Master of Business Administration from Presidio Graduate School. Her work has been published and presented in TED, Architects Journal, Architecture Magazine, Architectural Record, Daily News, Metropolis, Van Alen Report, Surface Magazine, New York Times, Van Alen Institute in New York City, Royal Institute of British Architects in London, The French Institute of Architects in Paris, USAID Head Quarters in Washington, DC, ICFF in New York City. She was recently honoured as a part of the Young Society Leaders in 2018 by American Turkish Society.
EDUCATION & EARLY WORK
Başak received an honorary scholarship from Syracuse University, where she discovered her passion in design while pursuing her studies in Computer Science. She began her design career as an industrial designer after graduating with Cum Laude from the College of Visual Performing and Arts. Her thesis project,Tree of Life, a transitional refugee shelter system was awarded as a finalist at the Architecture for Humanity’s design competition. Her expertise of temporary structures, and her strong sense of form landed her first work as a designer for one of the largest exhibit firms, Exhibitgroup/Giltspur in Chicago.
In 2001 Gensler, hired her to design the modular seating system which made its debut at Neocon. When Williams Sonoma Inc. hired her as a product designer for Pottery Barn she designed over 100 successful collections that encompassed numerous mediums that varied from ceramics, glass, resin, wood, iron, and other metals. When she joined Red Envelope Inc., an online catalog retailer as a lead product designer to design high-end luxury products, the diverse categories including digital platforms that she oversaw surpassed the company’s target revenues.
In 2005 she accepted an offer to join American Pacific Enterprises Inc. as a design director to establish the hard goods department. She hired and lead creative talent, traveled to Europe and Asia to research trends, designed product lines, trained cross functional product management teams and lead product development.