A Year in the Life of TUMO Studios

2019 marked TUMO Studios’ second year making inroads in craftsmanship and design!

Our educational program grew in size and scope. We hosted creatives from Spain, France, Lebanon, Czech Republic and more, and pushed the envelope with first-time ateliers in product design. Students learned how to incorporate circuitry into clothing with fashion designer Clara Daguin and designed and built a bike with Robin Lechvallier from Specialized Bicycle! We also adopted a new program model with three tiers of learning — foundational technical courses, design ateliers and a residency with TUMO Studios — all while steadily increasing our student body.

Students pose with the final product in an atelier with Design Engineer Robin Lechvallier of Specialized Bicycle.
Sketches from a bicycle design and building atelier at TUMO Studios.

All of this was made possible by our inquisitive and creative students, the work of dedicated staff and the generous support of our atelier leaders, customers, fans and donors. We appreciate the role that everyone involved played in making 2019 a fruitful and memorable year.


At TUMO Studios, not only do we provide young adults with opportunities to develop skills in craftsmanship and design, we also strive to preserve Armenia’s rich artisanal heritage and develop it for the future. Learning how to source and channel inspiration from the environment into viable designs and products is a key part of that process.

Early in 2019, students worked with Czech fashion designer Lenka Kohoutova to distill elements of their lives into textile designs for blankets. The results included patterns inspired by dragon hunters, ships at sea, the barbed wire around Yerevan during 2018’s revolution, swirls of footsteps in the city center and more.

Students weaving an apron in an accessory design atelier with École Duperré Paris.
An apron inspired by Armenian rug patterns and colors from 70s era Armenian movies handmade by students.

Later in the year, staff and students from fashion design school Ecole Duperre Paris came to TUMO Studios to lead an atelier in accessory design. With their guidance, students created an apron inspired by the colors and textures of 70s era Armenian films; headbands featuring details from Pak Shuka’s facade; a messenger bag created with the color and texture of tuff stone; a belt bag inspired by Hovhannes Tumanyan’s character Kach Nazar; and a scarf with the look and feel of lavash.


From Yerevan’s Soviet-era architecture and the embroidery of our grandmothers to the basalt columns lining Garni Gorge — Armenia and its rich artisanal heritage is a treasure trove of inspiration. TUMO Studios students are on a mission to shine a light on these details and give them new life as part of unique and innovative products — beautiful things you can touch, wear, taste and smell.

“We want to elevate crafts from being souvenirs to actually having use and adding quality to everyday life,” explained Head of TUMO Studios Maral Mikirditsian. “When something is relevant, it survives.” 

Students are making innovative dining ware in a ceramics atelier with Roberto Paparkone.
Students designed and made dining ware especially for Armenian dishes.

Innovation was front and center in a ceramics atelier with Mallorca-based artist Roberto Paparkone. With his help, students designed a minimal dining ware collection for Armenian dishes — a khash bowl that separates bone from broth, a tolma tray with space for yogurt, and a spatula with a twist for individual servings of gata.

In the fall, students worked with Barcelona-based designer Sanna Völker to make a series of vases inspired by Yerevan’s architecture — the curves of Republic Square, facade adornments on Abovyan Street and the shape of Yeritasardakan Metro Station. They sourced the stone from local quarries and submitted their designs to stonemasons for carving.


TUMO Studios is excited to continue growing and bringing its free education in craftsmanship and design to as many 16 to 28-year olds in Armenia as possible. In September, we launched a new program model that includes three modules — foundational technical courses, design ateliers with international experts and a residency with TUMO Studios. The program spans two to three years and aims to cultivate a new generation of Armenian designers and craftspeople who preserve our rich cultural heritage and take it to new heights.

Students in an accessories design atelier with Clara Daguin.
Students incorporating different mediums into fabric, including electronics, in an accessory design atelier with Clara Daguin.