When we first wrote about the boutique Dar HI Hotel in Nefta, Tunisia, Ben Ali was still in power, and Tunisia was one of the Middle East and North African region’s most egalitarian Arab countries. So much has changed since the Jasmine Revolution, leaving both the population and their natural environment more vulnerable than ever before.
Which is why the timing of Matali Crasset exciting new line of twelve unique and ecological furnishings crafted by Tunisian women is so impeccable. To be distributed exclusively by France’s Made in Design, these one-of-a-kind woven, handcrafted goods are made with the most responsible materials available by artisans who can really use the cash.
Crasset conceived the new line while working with Patrick Elouarghi and Philippe Chapelet of HI Life – the chain of ecological hotels that has a branch in southern Tunisia.
During that long collaboration, which resulted in a colorful boutique hotel in Nefta, the French designer conceived of the Palm Lab Project deisgned to promote the use of renewable palm.
Crasset’s latest round of textiles, light fixtures, and furniture is an offshoot of that original project and celebrates mostly local women who have perfected their respective crafts, though the image below reveals the absence of any such gendered assumptions.
In keeping with the most stringent ecological principles, locally-sourced sheep’s wool is used for weaving and apricot and palm wood are used for the steel. And the artisans are refreshingly liberal with the colors, patterns and shapes incorporated into each piece.
Specifically focused on preserving tradition and boosting the economy in a manner that is genuinely sustainable, the design project also reveals a host of embedded cultural clues – such as the importance of hospitality to even the poorest, underprivileged members of society.
Vibrant, groundbreaking, and sensitive, Crasset’s crafts are made even more spectacular by the meticulous photographs of Wassim Ghozlami.