Ismail Tazi, the innovative entrepreneur between Moroccan craftsmanship and technology

Growing up in Fez, the spiritual capital of Morocco, is a sign of a childhood steeped in the fascinating world of craftsmanship. Indeed, every corner of the ancient medina is shaped by the hands of dedicated, skilled and patient artisans.

This is how the young entrepreneur Ismail Tazi sees his hometown, where he grew up in a family of artisans. Both of his great-grandmothers were embroiderers. His great-grandfather ran a silk business. Many of his relatives, on his mother’s side, worked in traditional pottery.

Bearer of this love and passion for the world of craftsmanship which is for him a family affair, Ismail has however evolved differently, in the academic and professional world. After his secondary studies in Fez, he settled in France to follow a course in commerce.

After a degree at the Sorbonne University in Paris, he enrolled at EmLyon Business School, one of the most prestigious business schools in France. As a student, the young man went to China for a year of exchange in Shanghai and then to Arizona, in the United States.

He then completed an initial internship in finance in Washington DC, before embarking on a career in the banking sector in London.

Bringing together artisans and technology enthusiasts

But a new turning point is on the horizon in 2020, when Ismail finally decides to leave finance and devote himself to his true passion. “In January 2020, I launched Trame, trying to find a field that combines technology, culture, design and art,” Ismail, who currently lives in Paris, tells us.

For him, the art studio is indeed a territory of “intersection” between craftsmanship, which he saw growing up, and technology, the centerpiece of evolution in today’s world. His love for innovation is also at the origin of this project.

“In Fez, you grow up seeing artisans everywhere. You also see that the city is changing slowly. There is not much innovation,” the entrepreneur told Yabiladi.

“We are reproducing the same things, with the same color palette, the same designs, with the same materials and the same tools. And that has been a great inspiration for me, trying to think about how we can introduce innovation from this heritage.”

Ismail Tazi

This is how Trame works, bringing technology as a solution for artistic creation, particularly in Moroccan ancestral art.

To do this, Trame helps bring together artisans and technology enthusiasts, in order to create art, decoration and design objects adapted to our times, explained Ismaïl.

3D Printing and Coding

In this same sense, Trame supports creators and artisans by trying to find digital solutions for craft creation. “For example, to create a tapestry, we collaborate with a coder, using coding as an artistic medium. Technology can also play a role in manufacturing. When producing 3D printed clay objects, this would be considered digital manufacturing,” he told us.

In addition to bringing together artisans, digital artists and technology professionals, the studio also develops concepts, prototypes, edits collections, innovates in photography, carries out communication campaigns and organizes events to present these works of art and put them on sale.

Whatever the medium or tool used to innovate in craftsmanship, it is the keystone here, says Ismaïl. But this change sometimes encounters a certain resistance. “Some craftsmen refuse to try new methods and techniques,” the entrepreneur tells us.

But for him, it’s a natural reaction. “When you come with a plan, with a vision, when you build trust and respect, people generally become more receptive and want to try something new,” he noted.

In addition to 3D printing, Trame is behind the creation of products using other new technologies, such as CNC machining and coding.

One of Trame’s latest projects is a collaboration with three digital artists from the African diaspora, who will bring their creations into the tangible world and exhibit them by the end of the year.

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