TINJA: A Modern Twist on Tunisian Craft


BACO’s Paris correspondent Marianne Dorell met with Yasmine Sfar, the creative mind behind the Tunisian concept store Tinja.

Sfar, who was trained at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is at the helm of a family-owned company that sells handcrafted modern furniture and objects that are greatly inspired by Northern African landscapes and culture. Based near Carthage, Sfar and her team work in close collaboration with Tunisians artisans.  Together they work on making a contemporary line of home decor that weaves in  the region’s rich handicraft traditions.


Can you explain the influence behind the main pieces of this new collection? 

For the first time, we’ve developed textile prints that can be found on some cushions and pieces of furniture of this collection.

Our best-sellers are Tinja’s pottery, which is made by women from the northern region of Tunisia. The pottery is crafted with mythical figures and essential shapes. We have also enhanced our line of colored ceramics, which includes a large tray that you can rest on a metal table, and which also becomes a side table. Our line of clothing is inspired by the traditional outfits worn in various regions of Tunisia. Items are made of washed linen and have been developed in new colors.

How do you work with the artisans ?

We only work with artisans whose work and its finishes we appreciate. We then start a real exchange in order to elaborate new models that fits with Tinja vision of design. 
It’s a back and forth, a work that takes time and where the human dimension is very important.

Since we started, we’ve made very strong connections with some of the artisans we work with — many of whom are women. And this has transformed Tinja in a sort of enlarged family.

Which kind of traditional techniques did you want to put under the spotlight ? 

We don’t choose a technique first, what really matters for us are the people we meet and the exchanges we have with them. The choice of proposing pure, simple designs is a part of our vision to make items that are free of stereotypes and folklore and are reinterpreted in another way that envelops these traditions and know-how.

Can you tell us more about these first prints you have created for Tinja ?What have inspired you ?

I always have had a great affinity for textiles and it’s been a while since we made our own prints.
I conceived four different ones with different levels of black saturation and four variations around our universe: the hand work, the trace, the symbol.
Then we created them in a screen printing workshop. We will certainly extend this collection as it was met with success.

Where can we find Tinja this year ? 

Tinja will be present this year in several different parts of the world in Japan, the United States, Singapore, United Kingdom. In Paris, we are in different prestigious shops with a universe similar to ours. We are very proud to be present in Ines de La Fressange concept store since its opening (24, rue de Grenelle, 75007), at Merci (111, boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003), at Sarah Lavoine’s shop, Boutique Saint Roch (9, rue Saint Roch, 75001).


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