Parisian Design Boutique TRAME is a Love Song to Mediterranean Craftsmanship
The experience of traversing the Mediterranean at TRAME starts with the new Parisian design boutique’s door handle. Touching the plaster, which contains sand from Morocco and earth from Calabria, “makes the visitor curious and ask questions while entering the space,” says Ismail Tazi, who cofounded the brand along with his cousin. Born and raised in Fez, Tazi grew up surrounded by craft—his family counts embroiders and artisans in its lineage. Burnt out from a previous role in investment banking, he returned to his roots and the simplicity of making things as a solution.
TRAME is a love song to Mediterranean craftsmanship through the lens of a contemporary aesthetic. Tazi’s intention to first understand centuries–old practices while bridging these traditions with the new has led him to craft a particular production model. Each collection at TRAME starts with a trip to its area of inspiration with the designers and research team. “I understand contemporary design and market, but I also speak the artisans’ language,” he says. “These voyages show the limitations and potentials of working with traditional materials at a Mediterranean pace.”
A Voyage to Meknes and Onda Calabra—the first two collections—respectively are inspired by their titular cities. Rugs, ceramics, and curtains by designers Maddalena Casadei, Maria Jeglinska and Julie Richoz reflect their time studying the techniques of local craftspeople in Meknes. “Participating in each step creates an emotional connection with the objects,” Tazi says. “I was there carrying clay or making a few knots with the weavers.”
Similarly, the second collection includes contemporary examples of Calabrian pottery by Sophie Dries, Giovanni De Francesco, and Objects of Common Interest. Each designer also offered their interpretation of the local Calabrian mask, which sits in most households to keep the evil eye out.
Dries’s participation in the project, however, exceeds mask design. Tazi also tapped the architect to transform a former jewelry store in the Le Marais district into TRAME’s first store. “I wanted to keep the storefront’s history while adding my own signature,” says Dries. The viewing room, which used to display precious stones, is now what the team calls “the disco room” thanks to its mirror-covered walls. The former safe, on the other hand, is now a storage for rugs. The plaster that greets the visitors at the door handle also is used on the tables and some walls. “Meeting the artisans at their workshops was the most generous part of the project, and I reflect that in the interior design as well,” Dries adds.