Businessman of The Year at The Golden Crow Awards, 2022
Europe Best Custom-Made Factory Award, 2022
Europe Best Contract Furniture Manufacturer Award, 2021
International Arch of Europe Award, 2020
Best Contract Furniture Factory Five Star Diamond Award, 2019
The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, 2018
Early life and education:
Durmaz was born to ( father ) Halil Durmaz and ( Mother ) Hatice Durmaz. He graduated in Architecture and Physics from Sichuan University, Chengdu Sichuan, in 2001. He also studied in China with the TUBITAK student exchange program during this time. He trained under Zaha Hadid, a British-Iraqi architect designer, for 6 years.
He is fluent in English, Chinese, and Turkish and currently lives in Istanbul.
Durmaz began his career as a home furniture producer and later became an Assistant General Manager at Hongkong Investment Company.
He became the Founder and CEO of the family company Sagist Group, a global manufacturer of custom-made luxury furniture that works with different businesses on a project basis and creates investment opportunities for investors in its field. His company has invested in Istanbul, California, London, Sofia, Dubai, Moscow, Vienna, and Abuja. Under his leadership, he turned the company into an international one that has worked on 126 5-star hotels Project hotel furniture, 1650 ultra-luxury villas, and several schools and hospitals in 47 countries. He also managed the company's investments of several foreign customers in different parts of the world. Apart from Sagist Group, Durmaz is a Manager in several other companies.
In early 2022, Durmaz made a 5 million dollar agreement to produce furniture with Glee Hotel, the only 7-star hotel in Africa. He also carried out a 60-million-euro project in Bulgaria following the launch of Sagist Mega international. The project will work on opening 400 luxury villas in Bulgaria and will be open to investors, particularly from Africa. Additionally, he has bought 140 thousand square meters of land in Sile, Turkey, to build 40 villas.
VIP TURKIYE MAGAZINE INTERVIEW
Metin Durmaz: We brought together all the world concepts in our work
We came together with Metin Durmaz, CEO of Sagist Group, who successfully realized the furniture design and production of 164 five-star and above chain hotels worldwide in 21 years and gained fame with all of his completed projects. It stands out as the name preferred by everyone from Hollywood stars to important politicians with its successful businessman principles and the praise and references of its customers. We listened to the stable success story that stretches to one side.
The famous businessman, who also draws attention with his impressive personality, shared his very special project that he planned and wants to realize in 2024 only with the readers of Vip Turkey Magazine.
Mr. Metin, can we get to know you first?
Of course. I come from a family of artisans of the furniture industry in Turkey. I was in Turkey during my education period until university. The university is a leading institution in the field of architecture.
I completed it at Ichuan University in China, one of the universities. I finished my architectural education and undergraduate in Chinese. I am also a graduate of Physics.
After graduation, I started to work as the Deputy General Manager of the investment company Investment Company in Hong Kong. I met the world-famous British-originally Iraqi Architect Zaha Hadid, who came to our campus for the conference near my graduation. When an architect is mentioned in the world, Zaha Hadid looks like a demigod and the world knows the two architects very well; one is Mimar Sinan and the other is Zaha Hadid.
One day Zaha Hadid came to Hong Kong and asked me to work with her. As someone who had the honor of getting to know her throughout the business and friendship relationship we established, I can say that Zaha Hadid has a very different place in my life. After his death, I came to Turkey and became the head of our family company, which manufactures furniture. When we look at the point we have reached in our sector today, it is Zaha Hadid who opened the whole of Europe and even the world to us as Sagist Group.
If I can advise heads of state these days, if I can travel with the jet of Nigerian President Mohammed Buhari, if I can design the house of Emmanuel Macron's wife; All thanks to him. If I can do the work of many statesmen, politicians, successful and high-level names that I cannot name for security reasons, the reason why Zaha Hadid supports me.
How was the establishment phase of your brand Sagist Group, can we learn?
Our family business of furniture manufacturing already existed and was active. After returning to Turkey and taking over the company, we changed our vision. China is a country that we can call the kitchen of this business… From China to Europe, then to the Middle East and America… We have brought together all the world concepts in our work.
In our group company growth map, we blended the mass production speed of China, the design of Europe, the competitive structure of the Middle East, the ethnic textures of Africa and established production in Turkey. We are a Turkish company, but our structure is from all over the world.
I wanted to add difference to our service and I was aware that hotel furniture does not exist in our country. When customers came for hotel furniture, they would buy home use bedroom set and go, fitting these products to hotels. “This is not how it works, we have to put forward our vision.” When I said that, we got our first job from a company called Sleepcomfort. The firm is now one of the largest in the industry. Lebanese based. In fact, this company, which produces mattresses, is also very successful in hotel furniture. We had studied together in China with the son of the brand owner and were close friends. It has a great impact on the formation of our business concept today.
Sagist Group, breaking new ground in Turkey; Along with furniture services to brand hotels in many countries, today it designs and produces luxury furniture for hotels in the global and corporate and individual spaces such as villas, residences, shopping malls, private clinics all over the world. We undertake giant turnkey projects that include architectural design, production and implementation on building and furniture. We continue to grow with our large-scale and successful projects carried out both under the monopoly of our company and with our global collaborations.
You are a pioneer in hotel furniture in Turkey. So, how was the luxury design and furniture production process for hotels?
While Sagist Group continues to work on hotel furniture after the service concept and roadmap; Demands for luxury furniture began to come for the suites and presidential rooms as well. As a result, we started production in the luxury segment. Of course, at this point, our quality has increased as production, the knowledge of the personnel and our production machines have also changed. This has also improved the quality of standard hotel rooms. Therefore, we started to produce a 300-room Hilton, Mariott, Radisson room from a 50-room motel room.
We have successfully completed the production of 164 hotels worldwide in 21 years. I can definitely say that there is no such thing in the reference of any company in the Republic of Turkey, even no company in Europe. We have successfully produced, delivered and opened all our completed projects.
More importantly for us; To be preferred by 164 five or more star hotels… When there is a demand from the hotels, “What will be the material?” We don't ask. We only ask how many stars it has. Our relevant personnel know the material to be used and the design to be applied according to how many stars the hotel of the brand has. We manufacture according to accreditations and these brands start using our products with peace of mind without checking them.
Do you usually work on custom orders?
First of all, I must state that we never had to look for customers. Thankfully, God did not give us a period when we were looking for customers. Our customers come with their private jets, are welcomed at the airport, hosted in our company, we have our meeting, our conversation, and we receive their projects. After hosting, we bid them farewell to their countries.
We select our clients with various references. Because we also work with the heads of state of many countries. In the same way, we design the homes of stars around the world. If the work of a famous name is heard, another world star comes and says, “Do the same for me. Even better.” says. That's what we don't accept.
As for the answer to your question; Yes. we mostly do Custom Made, that is, special work for the project of an individual or corporate brand. We have to give trust and confidentiality in return for the payment you receive with special production. For this reason, “We cannot work with you.” There are a lot of people we turned down saying. As a result, we look at the location, status and relations of the customers who come to us in the country they live in. We call and refer people we have worked with before in that country.
What are the main features of Sagist Group's success?
We make luxury and special design and production. As Sagist Group, our priority is our perfectionist approach to our work… We carry out all production from chair to table in our country. We only supply raw materials such as marble and glass that we do not produce from outside. However, we also have them specially produced with our own quality standards and control them at every stage.
We have all kinds of certificates, from fireproof doors to health certificates, European Union certificates. We do our work in accordance with the procedures. It is essential to have these certificates in hotels, hospitals and similar productions.
We have more than 200 employees in our organization. We also have teams in the field abroad. We currently have a team of 20 people in Doha. In Dubai, we have a team of 12 people. 9 people work in Benin, 11 people in Nigeria. Our teams are highly professional, which ensures that our work is completed on time and completely.
You are attracting attention from all over the world. So, how do you get requests and returns abroad? Which countries do you usually work with?
As Sagist Group, we have undertaken very big projects abroad. Over time, our projects gained momentum. We continue with high-quality and beautiful projects. Therefore, the success we have achieved with our vision brings our customers to us spontaneously. Generally, our customer comes upon reference. There are people and companies who already know about us. I can say that we are a somewhat spoiled and smug company.
The party that will become our customer comes ready to deliver themselves to us, as it was warned beforehand by the reference. Since our projects include a superior service expectation, we do everything to bring ourselves and customer satisfaction to the top. At the end of the work, there is an incredible happiness on the part of the customer and pride in us. There is no better advertisement and investment than a happy customer.
We generally work with the USA, European countries, Africa. Before the pandemic, the Middle East and Arabian Peninsula were intense; however, we had to take a stand in the face of some political turmoil. After all, we come from a nationalist and religious family. We have taken our stand wherever our state has taken a stand so far. Yes, maybe that's not true in business, but I can't let my nature and the blood in my veins listen.
What determines the line of your designs? How would you describe your brand's style? How would you interpret your customer portfolio?
Projects come from many parts of the world, but we have a style in our own designs. I especially like to use dull colors in our products; such as matte green, matte black, matte smoked… Also, I always have a pale design touch in every project. Think of it like a signature. We prioritize the tastes, ideas and socio-cultural structure of our customers, even their religious beliefs. We pay particular attention to the cultural fabric and sensitivities of our Indian and African customers. Istanbul is my muse…
The night before we start our projects, I always go to the Bosphorus, look a little at the sea and a little at our Istanbul. The next day, the project is already sitting in my head. The rest is already detailed!
The style of our brand is actually related to my zodiac sign… I am a Gemini and the characteristic features of my sign are also reflected in the style of our brand. Confident, but constantly changing, smug, different from everyone else, knowing everything and always right... What kind of brand recipe is this, I can summarize it as follows; We are a company that is intellectual, brave, combative and owns its core values.
Our customers are like us; consists of successful names who are different, exciting and have put their signature to life in some way. You know most of them as European and US high-profile names, jet-setters or celebrities, and international business people.
What will be the furniture trends in 2023? Which colors and styles will we come across more often in designs?
Since our projects usually come to us a few years ago, we can follow the agenda far ahead. This year is truly a brave year... People around the world have fallen in despair and unhappy, especially after the pandemic. After this process, everyone is reborn from the ashes in 2023. I call it the Phoenix of Humanity for the year 2023. Therefore, lively and energetic lines will dominate in 2023. Because nobody wants pessimism, they want hope. This year, we use pastel and rainbow colors in our colors. 2023 is the year of crossing borders and new beginnings…
What are your future goals for your brand?
A few days ago, we launched our companies in Miami and New York. Again, at the beginning of January, our showroom was opened in Vienna, where we will also sell our niche products. A month later, we will open in Casablanca.
While we think that these plans are sufficient for us this year; now our partners in Malaysia and Singapore want to further develop the structure. We took on the design and decoration of Tiger Woods' family villa in Hampton, USA; 12 villas in total and a restaurant in Hampton… We will be busy with these projects in 2023.
I have a plan to build an orphanage complex in Istanbul for the year 2024, entirely by our own means, even if God wills and our state deems it appropriate. I am planning a complex structure from A to Z, in which there will be vocational high schools, workshops, art schools and the warm wing of our state will surround our orphans even stronger. I am a little romantic and emotional as a character. I love to touch lonely souls and with a voice that reassures your ears
"Don't be afraid." to shout! “God will help you.” I say…