Tile Works 2

Deep Cultural Roots Inspire the Artistic Designs of Tabarka Studio

A lifestyle brand with a focus on luxury surfaces, Tabarka Studio has been handcrafting custom terracotta tiles since their debut in 2000. Helmed by Creative Director Meir Zenati, the brand’s designs for their handmade tiles are rooted in an array of vibrant world cultures, while the time-honored artisan process used to create them embodies the very essence of craftsmanship; making for timeless pieces that fit very well into any setting.

An Inspired History

Ever since he was a boy, Zenati had always been captivated by the sheer beauty and rich history of artisanal work—a passion that would only grow with time and eventually lead him to his lifelong career.

“When I was very young in Israel, I would visit the Bedouins in the desert near my home and be captivated by their carpets and artifacts,” recalls Zenati. “On a visit to Istanbul, I found these tiles that were centuries old, almost hidden under a pile of rugs. That moment changed the course of my career forever, and it’s the memory of those tiles that makes me passionate about this craft.”

The rest was history. Zenati continued to cultivate his passion for artisan work, starting a company in Mexico that worked with furniture and pottery. However, it was their small line of tile-topped tables that really drew in the crowds, inspiring them to curate a tile collection. That first tile collection was named Tabarka, after the location in Tunisia famous for it’s pottery, and from there Tabarka Studio was born—starting off as a small production and growing into a well-respected name with top-notch, quality work and inspiring designs.

Design Theory

At heart of his work is Zenati’s passion for design, as he constantly finds inspiration in both the everyday and the unexpected, striving to tell a unique story with each collection.

“Everyday I either sketch something new or work on making prototypes,” says Zenati of his work at Tabarka.

Also an avid traveler, many of his earlier tile collections are rooted in different geographic areas around the world and feature exquisite colors and authentic detailing from each culture. Take, for instance, their Maghreb, Mediterranean, Paris Metro and L’Est collections. All are strongly influenced by different cultures, yet make an effortless transition into modern American homes.

Recently, Zenati has been researching and working with new materials to incorporate into his designs, a perfect example being Tabarka’s new Petite Alliance Collection, which creates breathtaking surfaces by mixing wood and stone.

“We have incorporated wood and stone into our collections, and I’m very intrigued by that,” he says.

Artisan Craftsmanship

As for Tabarka’s signature terracotta tiles, they are still handmade and detailed by a team of skilled artists that use the same artisan process the company adopted when it first started.

“The terracotta bisque is made by hand in Mexico in the traditional way, and our finish technique is very different from standard glazing,” explains Zenati.

Still rooted in authentic artisan craft processes with designs inspired by world cultures and the mixing of new materials, all of Tabarka’s creations are sure to inspire for many years to come.

To learn more about Tabarka Studio visit TabarkaStudio.com