Who? Defne Koz is a Milan-based Turkish designer whose work features in museums around the world. She has worked for the likes of Pirelli, Alessi, Casio, Sharp and Nissan. Does she have formal training? She has what she describes as 'anomalous training': a bachelor of arts in Italian literature from the University of Ankara and a master's degree in industrial design from the Domus Academy in Milan. What's her story? She was born in 1964 in Ankara. Both her parents are architects and design became her passion early in life. 'I think this is because I grew up breathing design from my parents ... in an environment always exposed to creativity and art,' she says. After obtaining her literature degree in 1985, she moved to Milan where she finished her master's in 1989. She says her time at the Domus taught her that design in Italy is not only a style but a cultural, industrial tradition. She then worked for Ettore Sottsass, a founder of the Memphis Group, which was devoted to reviving radical design. She 'trained by doing', which is the Italian way. What are her influences? Koz claims to have been heavily influenced by Sottsass' unconventional outlook and his search for meaning in design - 'not creativity for creativity's sake'. She also finds inspiration in the 'intense' but 'fun' work of legendary 20th-century modernist Charles Eames. What is she best known for? The Circus lamp from Italian lighting specialist Foscarini. According to Koz, after more than a decade it remains the bestseller in the company's wall- and ceiling-mounted lamp category. 'That lamp, like other products of mine, has been copied all around the world,' she says. What else has she done? The Alessi basket; Tomo, a collection of office furniture; and Float, a 'tranquil' chaise longue in leather for Italian firm Mobileffe. Another relaxing product is Sense (above), a family of sanitary fixtures. Then there is the Relax lamp, which she defines as a kind of 'calm invention'. What is her design philosophy? 'I see design as part of everyday life. I hate it when design is presented as an elitist style. Design is about what people do every day - about tools people use every day. And it's about adding quality to what people do every day.'