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Interview with Hassene Jeljeli

Trained in architecture and interior design, Hassene Jeljeli launched JK Lighting to create contemporary lighting objects using manual and industrial techniques.

What do you make?
We make contemporary lighting objects.

Your design ethos is…
Make it simple with what you find now.

Hassene Jeljeli with the Tunis Design Week award

Hassene Jeljeli, founder of JK Lighting, receiving the Tunis Design Week award (photo: Hassene Jeljeli)

How are your products made?
My products are made in a process that involves both manual and industrial work. JK lighting is the story of a collaboration between architect-designer and craftsmen

What inspired you to start your business?
The bright idea of moving from consumer to producer.

JK Lighting candle holders

JK Lighting candle holders (photo: Hassene Jeljeli)

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
From a need comes an idea that is transformed into a concept using local materials and hands.

jk lighting blue circle tea candle holder with candle

How do you draw from Tunisian culture and traditions?
My role as an architect and designer is to try and evolve culture and tradition. I’m only interested in the function and atmosphere of the object, not its form. I often use commonplace materials such as Tunisian plywood to ennoble them and turn them into “high-class” objects. I also use noble materials such as marble to make “middle class” objects.

JK Lighting's workshop

JK Lighting’s workshop (Image: Hassene Jeljeli)

What does Tunisia mean to you?
For me, Tunisia represents the piece of land where I first opened my eyes, where I studied and where I’m now working. and I have to tell you, it’s still virgin territory.

Kesra's berber staircase

Kesra’s staircase painted with Berber motifs (Image: The Arab Weekly/Houssem Aoun)

What is your favorite place to visit in Tunisia?
Kesra, in Siliana*

* Perched on a hilltop is Kesra, the highest town in all of Tunisia at 1,100 meters. It’s known for its Berber heritage, Byzantine citadel, panoramic views and waterfalls. Read about Kesra in The Arab Weekly.
May 2023

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