Meir Zenati Talks Tabarka StudioAuthor:Candace Abbott
Some people are just born leaders and rather than spot the trends, they define the trends. Meir Zenati, Creative Director of Tabarka Studio is one of those people. As the once-best-kept-designer-secret embarks upon new territory, opening their first flagship shop in L.A., we were able to steal a few moments of Meir’s time and talk all things tile as well as learn about the essence of Tabarka. Speaking to the brand’s essence of evolution, it’s appreciation and respect for both design history and it’s own personal history, Meir creates a narrative around Tabarka that’s entrancing and one that makes us even more eager to experience the new showroom. The showroom, will allow customers to engage in a full immersion of the brand, granting them the ability to purchase Tabarka’s work in the much revered Terrazzo, wood or mosaic as well as allow them work customize their space working with the in-house creative team. In short, Meir Zenati will redefine design in his own way. It’s what he does best because as he says himself, “I love the challenge of making something new.”
What lies at the core of Tabaraka? What are the brand’s major goals and inspiration?
First and foremost, we are a modern day atelier and the manufacturers of artisan and handcrafted bespoke materials. Craftsmanship is the essence of our practice. At Tabarka, one can always expect the unexpected. This perhaps sounds a bit cliché, however we have always prided ourselves on being leaders in the design industry and above trends. Instead, we are always evolving and working on the next unexpected and impossibly beautiful thing. Wait until you see what we do next… This is the essence of Tabarka today.
Let’s talk about the L.A. inspired Collection. Can you tell us the feelings you’re seeking to evoke with this?
We wanted to create a collection wherein each individual piece is beautiful in its own right, as well as being part of a larger geometric pattern. Our inspiration was the golden age of Los Angeles Modernism, and we chose Terrazzo with inlaid brass accents to convey the elegance of this era… think glamorous mid-century homes of Trousdale, and the grand floors of Deco movie palaces of Broadway Theatre District in Downtown L.A.
What does this L.A. flagship shop/showroom represent for you as creative director?
The showroom is a platform to share our own aesthetic signature. For many years we have been proud to be behind the scenes and happy to partner with the most respectable firms in the surfaces industry. Now we also want people to know that we are so much more than the hand-painted terracotta that first put us on the scene. We have a vast collection of surfaces in stone, wood, mosaic, cement, and terrazzo, and these materials all work together as cohesive design for any special project. The LA Flagship is the perfect venue to show the union of these exquisite, carefully curated, and handcrafted materials.
What is your guiding philosophy with regards to both life and design?
Our aesthetic proposal is ever evolving, yet our vision remains the same always: we create the transcendental, the feeling of being transported to an unspecified and luxurious time between history and tomorrow. In this time standing still, our vision solidifies and gains clarity. We seek luxury beyond trend, created with simple and unpretentious materials that evoke the past, find comfort in the present and remain relevant in the future.
Tell us why Terrazzo is an absolute material. What’s the appeal versus other materials?
Terrazzo originated centuries ago as a popular and economical way to replace stone floors and mosaics. It was in Venice that this craft developed and flourished. At the splendor of Terrazzo, it was utilized in noble homes and baroque palazzos. No two pieces of terrazzo tile are the same. It’s impossible to replicate one by one, and this is so very compelling to us, as is its durable nature.
What are your thoughts on the current design scene? What do you love about it and what do you think should change?
I think we are living in an amazing time for design. There is so much freedom to create and little fear of breaking with the norm. At the same time, there’s a great deal of appreciation of the past, of tradition, and great value in craftsmanship.
Walk us through Tabarka Studio and tell us what we can expect and why it’s special, why this direct approach is monumental?
Tabarka has been a secret source and private label for years to other surfaces brands. With our first showroom experience opening in L.A., we’re excited to mark a new chapter where we are presenting new work under the Tabarka name, as a fully realized lifestyle brand of our own. In addition to our current partnerships, we’re excited that this new showroom will enable us to work more closely with the design trade on bespoke tile and other surfaces. Clients coming to the Tabarka Studio will certainly be able to see, sample, and purchase our work in stone, wood and mosaic, but there’s also the ability to work with our in-house creative team on customized projects. As we own and operate our own production studio, we will be able to explore bespoke work with clients in an intimate way that we haven’t before.
What’s an interesting fact about you that you think our readers would love to know?
I bake almost everyday after work! Once I perfect something, I move onto the next thing. I love the challenge of making something new. This sounds similar to my approach to design and business.
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