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Interview with Nesrine Ouertani of NOA Atelier

Architect Nesrine Ouertani is a self-trained ceramicist, designer, and founder of NOA Atelier in La Marsa. She wants you to know that Tunisia is full of treasures and magnificent landscapes.

What is the inspiration behind NOA Atelier?
NOA Atelier was born out of the strong desire to preserve the Tunisian craftsmanship, with particular interest in ceramics. The idea is to offer a range of modern and contemporary products while preserving the techniques and the patience needed to do the work, which is entirely done by hand.

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What positive impact do you have in Tunisia?
In my humble opinion, I believe that NOA Atelier is part of the new generation that is trying to show a new image of Tunisian craftsmanship; a modern and innovative image that draws its inspiration from the history and and ancestral savoir-faire of the country.

What is your design process?
It all starts in my head. I quickly arrive at what I’d like to draw. After going back and forth between technical drawings and prototypes, tests with materials and textures and working closely with the craftsmen in their specialty, the result arrives. It can take months and years in some cases.

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What does design mean to you?
For me, design is a form of expression that is accessible to everyone. It is important to be sincere, patient, and passionate to follow the process from the birth of an idea to the sketch stage, up until the realization of the idea. There is no such thing as good or bad design. Every piece has a story to tell.

What is your favorite destination in Tunisia?
My favorite vacation destination in Tunisia is El Haouaria in the Cap Bon. It’s a place that has maintained its simple and natural state. You find spots with breathtaking views.

What are some spots you like to frequent on your time off?
Le Bon Vieux Temps and Le Plaza in La Marsa. The medina and its souks, because they are authentic places that have soul.

What is one thing every visitor to Tunisia should experience?
Discover all the underground nooks and crannies of alternative tourism. That’s the real Tunisia.

What do you wish the world knew about Tunisia?
I would like the world to know that Tunisia is a country that is full of treasures and magnificent landscapes, and that Tunisians have a kindness and solidarity that is rare to find.

November 2020

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