French designer Yasmina Benazzou unveils how her latest creation reflects her passion for travel and her thoughts on design
Currently leading the design and creative development of Tai Ping Carpets, French designer Yasmina Benazzou has been instrumental in rebranding Tai Ping and in creating the company’s contemporary, fashion-forward collections of the last decade. Initially freelancing for Tai Ping in 1999, she joined the company’s Paris design studio shortly afterwards and moved to New York City in 2006 to help establish the brand’s presence in the United States.
Her role requires extensive travel, a necessity that Benazzou embraces to the fullest. Travel has become her passion, offering inspiration which triggered a series of collections that celebrate architecture, art, fashion and decorative traditions from around the world. Her most recent bewildering experience, however, was not in some far-flung outpost of the planet, but in the Farnsworth House in Chicago, a glass house designed by the great Mies van der Rohe. “It’s an architectural experience that really blew my mind,” she says. “Fifty years have passed and buildings are still built using the same principles, only with better technology. The experience of simplicity is amazing.
“It’s like you try to tell things all your life, then you find out the less you say, the stronger the message is,” she muses. “But it’s so hard to do less than it is to do more.”
The Eclipse – Tai Ping’s latest collection – is one of Benazzou’s attempts to bring the idea of simplicity into carpet design. Inspired by the avant-garde aesthetics of Asian visual arts, the Eclipse collection captures and accentuates the region’s heritage and customs through a variety of movement, scale, abstract forms and optical impressions. “The collection embodies modernity and tradition. It’s about how you keep your roots but at the same time be contemporary,” she says.
“I’ve been coming here quite a lot in the last two years and I’m very impressed by the rise of Asia’s new architecture, new lifestyle, fashion and design. They are extremely avant-garde. You don’t experience this in New York or Paris… What is avant-garde today? The old codes and references are now being challenged. It’s not about Paris or New York or London. It’s Asia; this is where things are happening.”