Claiming an advanced place in the world-class design scene in the Emirates is no easy matter, but since her arrival in Dubai, British engineer Tamila Jazairi has attempted to do so by collaborating with craftsmen to create bespoke furniture. design and then set up her own “studio”. ”, expanding the latter’s services to include interior design. A London graduate, she is passionate about furniture, its every detail, and the relationship between furniture and the user. In the following dialogue, she talks about the future of furniture design, her philosophy and sources of inspiration…
Introduce yourself to our readers…
Founder of TAM, a Dubai-based design studio; I studied architecture and spatial design at Central Saint Martins and University of the Arts London, then worked in design with brands such as Bloomingdale’s house Dubai and Habitat UK, before founding a studio “Tam” in 2016, working with artisans in the UAE to create versatile sets of custom furniture that are loaded with stories and mastered. In 2020, with extensive knowledge of the Emirates region, the studio expanded its services to include interior design, with the aim of creating beautiful bespoke spaces alongside the TAM brand.
Design scene in the UAE
Was there a special event in your life that prompted you to pursue a career in furniture design?
Furniture has always stimulated my curiosity: the fusion of materials, the tactile quality of things and how the latter make people feel in spaces and subtleties, and how to combine all the mentioned factors to create pieces that are aesthetically pleasing to the eyes and become the most important elements of interior spaces. So when I had the opportunity to design a Bloomingdale’s Home store in Dubai, at an early stage in my career I immersed myself in the experiment and went through the process of developing concepts, turning them from ideas into changing functional pieces of furniture. The experience comforted me in my early career and gave me the opportunity to influence the design scene in the UAE.
How would you describe your style, which fuses Minimalism with Heritage?
A simplistic and functional approach has been the signature of my brand since its launch, while over the years it has continued to grow and expand, moving in new directions based on customer preferences and a desire to experiment. However, the brand identity is inspired by the simplicity and function of the influential Bauhaus school of minimalist style, with glamorous touches carried by materials such as: copper, marble and rectilinear forms.
You specialized in spatial design; What are the differences between spatial design and interior design?
Studying engineering and spatial design at university allowed me to regularly work on a larger scale, specifically on community projects. I believe this area gives me a deep understanding of clients’ needs, after they have given me a summary of their requirements, and allows me to expand beyond conventional thinking and approach projects conceptually, especially in the early stages of the design process. It is true that spatial design focuses on both internal spaces, as well as external spaces, with a more comprehensive view of our environment, but the aforementioned field shares with interior design, in several aspects, such as: the method of design, application and methodology, and most importantly, how to translate ideas into design concepts Practically, taking into account the client’s vision.
At the beginning of your career, you worked on the design of community projects in many countries of the world. How did that stage affect you?
Participation in social projects was a big factor in my studies throughout my student life; This experience taught me how to have conversations with clients, as well as with the manufacturing team, and helped me with design and business. Achieving excellent design results requires constant communication to find the best materials, attention to technical details and cost, quality improvement, delivery, installation and customer satisfaction.
craftsmen in the area
What comes to mind after your early years in the UAE, and your experience working with artisans?
My personal experience in furniture production started in 2014 in the UAE, before I founded Tam Studio. Since then I have been so impressed by the craftsmen of the area, and their skill, that I have never been so sure. I can’t say that the road in that period was smooth from the design stage to production, but I think the problem that designers face often lies not in finding skilled craftsmen, but in the degree of compatibility in the level of quality and professionalism required to present. a leading product or project. So, since the studio’s inception, I have spent many hours training and developing the team to create pieces that go beyond “ordinary” to a high-quality rank. It is worth noting that the close collaboration with the production team reflects a healthy and adaptive relationship. This relationship must be nurtured over the years.
When analyzing design trends, what are your impressions of the recent trend of skinny and fluffy furniture?
It is usual for the designer to fall in love with the current and widespread trends, while building on some elements of them in his work. So, at the moment, I like both organic furniture, which looks soft on the eyes, and natural materials, such as limestone and terracotta wall applications, which are present in many projects today, and evoke nature in the home. But I also think it’s important for designers and consumers to maintain their style, identity and habits, because houses say a lot about their owners, while fashion trends (like clothing fashion) are seasonal and have an expiration date.
Expression of personality
How do you see the future of furniture design?
I find the world of furniture amazing because designers are constantly reinventing the same pieces, using new materials and making some adjustments to form and function. I believe that as the global furniture market expands to accommodate rapid population growth, consumers with larger budgets will look for iconic and bespoke pieces, approaching furniture as both an investment and an expression of personality. In addition, the available market will also expand for those looking for more temporary solutions or for those on the move.
The user is emotionally attached to the custom-made furniture
What about expensive art furniture?
Custom furniture is seen as the expression of the user’s self, and the latter is emotionally associated with this furniture; This relationship is achieved when the designer puts the customer at the heart of the project processes, the first helps the second to explore his personal style and the way to connect to the furniture or the designer knows the user’s expectations of the furniture. In this context, I focus on the design of furniture (or a project) that speaks a distinctive language and expresses a concept or concepts related to the user, away from any direction or furniture produced automatically, in large quantities .
The Bauhaus and Cubism
Who are the artists and designers who have been influenced in terms of work?
Inspiration extends beyond the world of design; Despite my passion for the Bauhaus and Cubism, and their great influences on my approach to design, I also get a daily dose of inspiration by researching new materials, visiting factories, fusing old ideas with new, myself in delving into nature and finding interesting shapes and patterns after looking at Rocky hills or swimming in the ocean. I think it’s important to watch your surroundings and always be curious!