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Q&A with Khaled of AKAM

In an atelier just minutes from the Mediterranean coast, AKAM founder Khaled Azaiez is on a quest to revive the tradition of hand blown glass in Tunisia.

What make AKAM products unique?
AKAM La Verrerie de Carthage was founded in 2014 and specializes in handmade and mouth blown glassware production. Our savoir-faire makes us the best manufacturer of hand blown glass in Tunisia and Africa. The staff has been rigorously selected to produce pieces of art that are unique in colors, textures and shapes.

Glassmaking at the atelier in Soliman.

What inspired you to start your business?
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas A. Edison

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
“You see things; you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?” George Bernard Shaw, Back to Methuselah

I believe there are three possible reactions to a design piece – no, yes, and WOW. WOW is what we strive for.

Opaline glass dish.

What does Tunisia mean to you?
My homeland is the land of Tunisia where my ancestors lived. It is this intellectual heritage my ancestors have left to me to pass on.

This mosaic of culture, colors, traditions, promises.
My Tunisia, my princess, you will remain dazzling, sumptuous forever
maybe I’m mistaken, but this princess seduces me, captivates me.

How do you draw from Tunisian culture and traditions?
The history of Tunisia reveals its rich past where different successive Mediterranean cultures had a strong presence. After the Carthaginian rule, came the Roman Empire. Both left a lasting effect on the land with various monuments that are now designated World Heritage Sites, such as the El Djem amphitheater and the archaeological site of the ancient city of Carthage.

AKAM’s business uniform.

What is one thing every visitor to Tunisia should experience?
Tunisia is a leading destination for cultural tourism. There’s the Bardo Museum and its immense collection of Roman mosaics, vestiges of Carthage, the Tunis medina, El Djem amphitheater, ancient Roman site of Dougga, and the Great Mosque of Kairouan.

Where were you born, and where are you based now?
I was born in Soliman and am based in Soliman, which is where the AKAM workshop is located.

The AKAM team at the atelier in Soliman. (Image: AKAM)

All photos taken by soukra.co, unless indicated.

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