Welcome to Future Talks by RTF, where we engage in insightful conversations with design pioneers who bring captivating stories to life. In our upcoming session, we are thrilled to have Mustafa Afsaroglu in the spotlight.

Mustafa’s journey in the world of design began after earning his BA in Interior Design from Bournemouth University. He embarked on his professional career at Foster+Partners, contributing as an interior designer and workplace consultant, notably on projects like the Bloomberg Headquarters in London.

His expertise expanded further at HLW-International, where he collaborated with global giants such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon. This international exposure honed his skills across diverse cultures and industries.

The narrative takes an exciting turn with the establishment of Taner’s Sons, a venture Mustafa co-founded with Erhan. Together, they have been weaving design magic for both international conglomerates and independent clients, leaving an indelible mark in the realms of workplace, hospitality, and residential design.

Join us as Mustafa Afsaroglu shares his insights, experiences, and the intriguing stories behind his impactful design journey in our upcoming Future Talks session.

RTF: Hi Mustafa, We are glad to have you as a guest on Future Talks by RTF. Thanks for joining us. Tell us about Taner’s Sons and how the studio approaches design.

Mustafa: We approach every new opportunity as though it’s our first project, with just as much excitement. We are all ears during a variety of workshops we organise with our clients, understanding their needs, pain points and objectives. Everything we learn during these sessions then influences all of the decisions we make for the rest of the project. Our design concepts not only bring solutions to the project’s challenges but also weave in a poetic design language aimed to inspire the users of our spaces.  

RTF: What is it like working with your brother and partner, Erhan Afsaroglu?

Mustafa: We have a profound amount of trust and respect for each other. So at times when it’s super stressful due to a deadline and the patience wears a little thin, these fundamental values allow us to continue with no remorse. Once those moments are over, we’re able to continue as peacefully as before. Because of the honest flow of conversation between each other, we’re able to overcome a lot of problems that may normally build up. Besides all this, the two of us have a great sense of humour and make one another laugh a lot. 

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Independent Hotel Show_Images by Mustafa Afsaroglu
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Independent Hotel Show_Images by Mustafa Afsaroglu

RTF: What were the obstacles in building and scaling Taner’s Sons studio And what did it take to tackle them?

Mustafa: We won a grant to start Taner’s Sons in Cyprus which helped us not only financially but also to develop a business mindset as neither of us has a business background. We were then able to grow the company into London due to my past connections. The biggest obstacle in the way of growth has always been getting the right clients and projects. Resilience is key, we keep going.  

RTF: What was the initial spark that propelled you towards architecture and design?

Mustafa: Mine and Erhan’s fascination with the documentaries of ancient Egypt were some of my early memories of interest in architecture, design and history. Growing up on an island like Cyprus where at every step there’s a different historical monument also played a huge part in this. We just didn’t have great examples of modern architecture or interiors so I guess I was naturally drawn to creating modern landmarks

RTF: What is your favourite project to date and what makes it so?

Mustafa: Mark’s Skybar in London – won us our first interior design award! https://www.ts-ds.com/marksskybar

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Mark’s Skybar_©Luke Hayes Photography
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Mark’s Skybar_©Luke Hayes Photography

RTF: How important is it for the designers to shrug off the rigidity in their approach towards design to be on the ever-evolving design bandwagon?

Mustafa: I always say this. Flexibility is key in all aspects of life. PArticularly in design. You have to be able to adapt with the client’s needs so that you’re able to go on a journey and create together. This helps create amazing relationships with your clients and lead to fantastic creations. 

RTF: What is your perspective on the evolving role of architectural criticism and the influence of architectural critics in the digital age?

Mustafa: My brother has much stronger views on this than me. Opinions matter of course, and it’s great to get feedback. But the digital age brought with it accessibility as well as opinion pollution. Therefore, I always remind our team, stay on your lane. Keep doing what you’re doing. 

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Architectural project by Mustafa Afsaroglu_Images by Mustafa Afsaroglu
Architectural project by Mustafa Afsaroglu_Images by Mustafa Afsaroglu

RTF: How important do you think an architectural identity is for a firm? What does that ‘architectural signature’ mean to you?

Mustafa: The architectural style in my opinion not only refers to the design style you bring which is recognisable to the eye but also the style we deliver our service to our clients, ie. their experience working with us. Our architectural signature style is poetic, sculptural forms, shiny vs textured surfaces, and dramatic lighting effects. The style we deliver our service has a relatable family feel where we have fun with our clients and wider design team and also able to convey confidence and trust with what we say and produce. 

RTF: What approach would you advise young design professionals to have to excel in the field? And what are some things to be wary of?

Mustafa: Be curious but don’t forget to listen to the answers you ask questions to. (I have been guilty of this. Still learning). Network hard when you are young. Relationships are everything in our industry. (I don’t mean romantically)  

RTF: How does your off-the-table life shape your professional life?

Mustafa: My work and my private life are completely entangled with each other. I love being able to take time off whenever I like to. Therefore working on Sundays doesn’t bother me. I also love being able to work from anywhere so there’s no concept like going on holiday – i work from anywhere and seldom feel the need to switch off for 2 weeks. (I don’t really have the choice either to be fair) 

Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. It has been a pleasure getting to know about you and your work. We’re sure that your insights will be highly valuable to our audience which includes architects and design students. 


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.