Vignette Interactive at the Gate of Happiness

Many people know that Istanbul was once Constantinople, but as the only city to ever be the seat of two different empires — the Byzantine empire and later the Ottoman empire — the city has been known by many other names including Stambul, Tsarirgrad, New Rome, House of the Caliphate, Throne of the Sultanate, The Eye of the world and even The Refuge of the Universe.

The Gate of Happiness is still my favorite, and when you look out on the Bosphorus, it’s not hard to understand how it earned the name.

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Turks eat fish sandwiches next to the Galata bridge in Istanbul, Turkey before sunset. Photo by Tara Todras-Whitehill

So why is Vignette Interactive in Istanbul?

Well there is the amazing food, weather, architecture, history, and many other “happiness” factors — but also some very practical reasons:

  • Working with clients and partners around the MENA region, U.S. and Europe makes for a lot of travel. Now that we have a footprint in both Dubai and Istanbul, we are home in two of the busiest airport hubs in the world, putting us just a 2-hour flight from the stories we cover and the people we work with.
  • There is a vibrant creative community in Istanbul.  In addition to all the great museums, galleries and exhibitions, there is also a growing production community in Turkey producing amazing work.  The Palm D’Or winner this year was a Turkish film and the World Press Photo winner for multimedia feature “Witnessing Gezi” was shot by Emin Özmen and produced by the fine people at Le Journal.  Istanbul is full of talented people doing incredible work, and that is exactly the kind of community we want to be a part of.
  • And then there is always the geography itself. For a company focused on using powerful storytelling and technology to connect people and places, being at the literal bridge between two continents seemed like the perfect fit.

Tara and Joseph on an evening stroll through Nevizade. Photo by Jan Habich

New City and New Site

Thanks to Jakub, our talented UX designer, and Superkoderi, one of our development partners, we have a slick new site and an updated portfolio. Take a look around and check back soon. We have some cool projects launching over the next couple of months.

By Matt Ford

Matt is an avid experimenter of new forms of visual storytelling. He worked as a multimedia journalist for The Associated Press covering the 2008 U.S. presidential election, the Arab uprisings, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Before journalism, Matt worked in the Los Angeles film industry as a set and studio lighting technician on productions such as Spiderman 2 and The West Wing.

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