Trame / Ismail Tazi / Adnane Tazi
The new homeware brand TRAME was unveiled a few weeks before the lockdown in France. Founded by Ismail and Adnane Tazi, the Paris-based start-up promotes “new domestic landscapes across the Mediterranean” and creates design collections through encounters between designers and craftsmen from one end of the sea to the other, inspired by their vision of celebrating common heritage. In light of the pandemic crisis, they are even more determined to respond, with constructive energy, to a history of painful struggle and rich artistic crossings over the Mediterranean.
The narrative and business model of TRAME are based on the poetics of travel and cultural exchange. Does the current crisis undermine your approach?
Our project is surely an invitation to travel, but it is equally a celebration of Mediterranean culture through local craftsmanship. Since day one, in a pre-pandemic era, we have worked to promote collaboration, short-cycle production, and artisan communities active in their places of origin. By putting artisans directly in contact with designers, our brand aims to create products at prices comparable to local markets, but with the added investment of creative authorship, personal contact with makers, and ecommerce accessibility. In a world where we will still travel, but maybe less than before, TRAME’s virtual bridges across the Mediterranean are culturally and economically even more valuable. For now, this forced pause gives us time to reflect before moving forward with our next milestone event in Paris at Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche in September.
Has the current situation provoked new ideas or projects for TRAME?
TRAME’s fundamentals matter now more than ever. We are optimistic that the world will start moving again, with more awareness and with respect for limitations imposed for the common good. For our next capsule collection we are exploring the possibility of a special project in Riace, Calabria. Through Studio Vedèt, the Italian-based studio who guide the artistic direction of our brand, we learned of this small Mediterranean town, a famous case study of migration and integration within the larger framework of politics, economy, and industry in southern Italy. TRAME believes that cultural exchange could produce value and symbolic significance for sites like Riace, and thus we are investigating possibilities for collaboration between the local artisan community and designers in the region. Now that restrictions are being eased in Europe, we hope to establish contact with local partners in the near future.
In April, you planned to launch Entwine, a new collection of carpets and ceramics designed by Maria Jeglinska. What outcomes do you anticipate as you present your rug with Alcova through this virtual design festival?
We're convinced that the strong colours and beautiful contrasts of Maria's rugs will pierce the screens of Dezeen readers! All of our rugs are currently available through our online shop; the production of Maria’s ceramics was paused temporarily due to the pandemic crisis, but they will be fully stocked for purchase by the end of the month. In general, we are enthusiastic advocates for convivial encounters in “real” space. We do not expect online connections to replace a shared physical materiality, although as a brand dedicated to e-commerce, we find other benefits in this approach. This virtual festival should continue and find its niche, in coexistence with physical gatherings when they can safely resume.
Contemporary aesthetics and motifs versus craftsmanship with historical and local roots—how do these forces come together in your brand?
Adnane and I were born and raised in Morocco, and we could not fail to notice, over the past few years, an incredible boom in international interest regarding our local craftsmanship. But it was our conscious choice that TRAME, in contrast to other brands, would not be based exclusively on one ethnic artisanal tradition. With time, our products will be manufactured not only in Morocco but also in Italy, France, Greece, Algeria, and other countries around the Mediterranean. We are equally interested in preserving time-bound aesthetic practices as in orchestrating improbable encounters—sometimes clashes—between dierent conceptions of making. The generosity of these collaborations lead to fruitful design outcomes that cannot be predicted in advance.
TRAME embraces cross-border material cultures. After the pandemic, is a future without borders even more urgent?
We think imaginative speculation is a powerful tool to find space for artistic exploration, between given material realities and historical traditions. Our first collection, designed by Maddalena Casadei, Maria Jeglinska, and Julie Richoz, was inspired by Madame de Blois, the daughter of King Louis XIV, who received an engagement proposal from Moulay Ismail, one of Morocco's most influential sovereigns. The design collection was inspired by the possibility of a marriage that ultimately never took place. How would it have altered the balance of Mediterranean power? As it happened, the trajectory of migration developed in one direction, but what if it flowed the other way? After the pandemic, experts predict an increase in both border restrictions as well as migratory pressures due to economic shocks throughout global supply chains. Therefore, we believe that our message remains crucial and must be expressed even more decisively.