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Interview with Yasmine Sfar of Tinja

Yasmine Sfar, co-manager and designer of Tinja, collaborates closely with the design studio’s community of artisans across Tunisia to develop their creations inspired by nature.

What is the inspiration behind Tinja?
Nature in general. The materials, landscapes, colors, impressions. How humankind lives in nature and what it does with nature. Not only the craft traditions but also the part of the soul men and women infuse into their creations.

yasmine sfar of Tinja

Tinja designer Yasmine Sfar (Image: Tinja)

What does the name Tinja mean?
Tinja is a village located between Lake Bizerte and Lake Ichkeul, a region that we adore. It is also a stopover point for migratory birds in winter. It’s the bird of our logo.

Lake Ichkeul Tunisia

Lake Ichkeul Tunisia (Image: Tinja)

Who is the Tinja team?
Tinja is a family story in which my parents, and more recently my husband, are a part of. We have also assembled a team of artisans who work with us on a daily basis in our workshop for the finishing work. Finally, it is also and above all the artisans, each in their own region, who are part of Tinja’s extended family.

Sejnane Potter

Sejnane artisan working the local clay to make terracotta pottery (Image: Tinja)

What is your design philosophy?
The same as for life, I believe. To receive, nourish oneself, and transmit with great kindness.

What is your design process?
More like a design mantra, “To have a fan-shaped eye,” as the French architect and designer Charlotte Perriand used to say.

Sejnane Pottery

Sejnane Pottery arranged by Tinja, 2020 (Image: Tinja)

What positive impact do you have on Tunisia?
I would like to be able to say that this project adds to all those who offer a new image of Tunisia. We have so much latent potential! There is the opportunity to flourish and innovate, provided you give yourself all the necessary skills, particularly in terms of training, in a favorable ecosystem to create the best while developing something new. I also strive to create a more benevolent, more respectful ecosystem around Tinja in order to foster a dynamic collaborative exchange.

Made By Tinja Pottery

Pottery at the atelier (Photo: Tinja)

What does Tinja mean to you?
A field of creative experimentations.

Where is your favorite place to vacation in Tunisia?
The southern part of Tunisia is a magical place.

What places do you return to again and again in Tunisia?
The streets of the medina of Tunis, with its artisans who still hide little treasures in their stores. Do not miss the daily specials of Weld el Haj or a couscous under the souks’ arcades.

What is one thing every visitor should experience in Tunisia?
A stroll through Carthage that starts at the top of the hill of Byrsa near the Cathedral Saint Louis, and ends at the Punic Ports of Salammbo passing (or not) through the vestiges of the Antonine Baths.

Maison et Objet January 2020

Maison & Objet, Paris, January 2020 (Image: Tinja)

Who is a Tunisian you admire?
My mom, the best colorist I know! She never looses her enthusiasm and kindness.

What do you wish the world knew about Tunisia?
That Tunisia is a fascinating little country that really needs to be discovered. Every region has its own charms and Tunis is definitely not representative of the country. If you want a real Tunisian experience, you should take the time to visit different cities and landscapes like Le Kef, Mahdia, Djerba or Nefta.

November 2020


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