Basak Altan, IDSA

Başak Atlan, IDSA
Chair, IDSA San Francisco Chapter  | 2019-2021

Başak holds a Bachelor of Industrial Design from Syracuse University and a Master of Business Administration from Presidio Graduate School. As an Entrepreneur, Design Strategist and Design Educator trained in Industrial Design and Business Strategy, she has been providing services for organizations by bringing a unique combination of strategic business development, sustainable design and community building expertise for over 20 years. 

As a connector and future thinker, Başak has been providing a diverse set of international clients with strategy & research planning, as well as design mentorship & innovation process design, to arrive at delight, beauty, personal meaning and cultural resonance for the circular economy. She often consults as an expert to educational institutes and startups, providing expertise on design thinking, design strategy and design education.

Her early professional work spans from winning the Architecture of Humanity Award with the Tree of Life Transitional housing project to exhibit design, furniture, product and retail design. Her passion for sustainable design led her to move to the Bay Area in 2000, where she worked as the design coordinator for the Berkeley Eco House project. She designed and initiated the first community garden workshop in her hometown in Turkey in 2003; and during this time, she worked as a design researcher for Oakland’s first green building resource center under Mayor Jerry Brown.

After working as a product designer for Williams Sonoma and Red Envelope, she joined American Pacific Enterprises as Design Director to establish their hard goods department. In 2015, she founded the nonprofit Bay Area Turkish Society (formerly known as Berkeley Turkish School), where as President, she leads the efforts in creating a community program centered around the values of design thinking, leadership and sustainability.

In addition, from 2015 until 2020, she taught design research and sustainable design at the Industrial Design Department at California College of Arts in San Francisco. Her last studio won two international design awards for sustainability and social impact. She continues to mentor young designers on their investigative research and design career journey. For Başak, the most meaningful aspect of mentoring is influencing the next generation of designers to create experiences that make a positive impact in the world. 

Her work has been published in Architects Journal, Architecture Magazine, Architectural Record, Daily News, Metropolis, Van Alen Report, Surface Magazine, New York Times, and Open Architecture Network. Her work has been displayed in Van Alen Institute, New York City; Royal Institute of British Architects, London; The French Institute of Architects, Paris; USAID Head Quarters, Washington, DC; and ICFF, New York City.