Last week marked the beginning of the inaugural Istanbul Design Biennial, curated by Joseph Grima and Emre Arolat and organized by the local cultural foundation IKVS — the same organization behind the city's contemporary art biennial. We're homebound until Design Miami but our intrepid London-based correspondent Claire Walsh bravely reported back on her maiden voyage, which included a tour of the official biennial festivities (on view until mid-December) but also the occasional foray into Istanbul's neighborhoods to capture urban texture, like the Memphis-style painted columns above. "Istanbul's art biennial is renowned for tackling heavy themes, so there was a lot to measure up to!" she says. "Titled Kusurluluk (or "imperfection" in plain old English), this biennial posed pivotal questions about design's role in growing metropolises like Istanbul, archaic organization, and what we understand design to be. This wasn’t about tables and chairs. Hell no — this was cerebral. Here are some of my favorite photos and moments from my trip."