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MARBLE AND MINT AND VINTERIOR

If you love unique vintage and mid-century finds, hop over to Vinterior where we’re showcasing an exclusive collection of our vintage Boujaad rugs.  These beautiful works of art originate from the Haouz region of Morocco, between the Middle Atlas mountains and the Atlantic ocean.  They were traditionally woven using bold colours such as pinks, oranges, purples and reds, which just happen to be perfect for the Autumn season  ahead.  Boujaad are pile rugs and usually incorporate a number of Berber motifs and lozenges, telling the weaver’s tale of rural life, marriage and spirituality.  These pieces are all shipped direct from our Riad showroom in Marrakech, and are not currently available on our website.  Each rug is, of course, completely unique, so check them out early….once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Vintage Boujaad (£1,300) available to buy at www.vinterior.co.

YSL MUSEUM – MARRAKECH

Yves Saint Laurent had many muses, but only one Marrakesh, the city where he discovered light and color, draping and caftans. There, in a series of homes — of which his final and most notable was the opulent Villa Oasis — Saint Laurent sketched some of his best designs (and hosted some of his wildest parties).

This October, some 50 years after the designer’s first visit to Morocco, a state-of-the-art fashion museum honoring his oeuvre will open just steps from the Jardin Marjorelle, the villa’s botanical escape-cum-tourist attraction. The new, 43,000-square-foot building, designed by the Paris-based firm Studio KO, will house thousands of articles of clothing and haute couture accessories, all carefully selected by Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent’s partner in business and in life. Expect to see such iconic pieces as Le Smoking and the safari jacket, but not an exhaustive retrospective. (A sister museum, Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, opening in YSL’s former atelier on 5 Avenue Marceau a few weeks prior, will fill that role.)

“Here, we wanted to explore the spectacular and fantasy side of the work,” says Madison Cox, vp of the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent and director of the Jardin Marjorelle. Confections like a scarlet faille couture cape embroidered with purple and hot-pink bougainvillea and an African-inspired beaded minidress from the 1967 Bambara haute-couture collection will hang in the permanent exhibition hall. Elsewhere, original scenography incorporating “floating voices, quotes, images and film snippets” by the French architect and set designer Christophe Martin will add a sense of “magic,” says the museum director Bjorn Dahlstrom.

No less expressive is the building itself, with both modern and traditional Moroccan influences (locally-sourced terrazzo, red brick latticework, bush hammered concrete) and a curved facade that mimics the folds of fabric. “We designed it like a sculpture; a game of volumes and heights,” Studio KO co-founder Olivier Marty says of the space, which will feature a bookshop, research library, auditorium and a cafe serving French-leaning fare with a terrace overlooking a reflection pool. Inside, light streams through stained-glass windows inspired by Saint Laurent’s love for Henri Matisse — blues and greens on one side of the entrance hall, reds and tangerines on the other. “He’s Marrakesh and Paris. He’s color and black, masculine and feminine, the line and arabesque,” says Dahlstrom. “Together, it’s essential YSL.”

Article courtesy of New York Times Style Magazine 

GLOBAL FUSION

Homes & Antiques magazine, October edition, is out now, echoing the continuing interiors trend for arts and crafts from far flung locations, especially when they are handmade and support local artisans.

 

Check out H & A Lifestyle Homes this month, a former carpenter’s warehouse which dates back to the 1800’s, once part of the East End of London’s thriving furniture district, which now reflects the owner’s love of Thailand and industrial design.

Marble and Mint are included in their favourite global picks, along with several other amazing e-tailers selling artisan items from China, India, Tibet, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Well worth a read!  On sale from 17th August.

 

TRADITIONAL WEAVING/MODERN DESIGN…..CUSTOM RUGS AND KILIMS

Autumn ’17 will hopefully see me returning to Morocco for a visit to one of two workshops in the Atlas Mountains.   This is located in Azrou (a gruelling 6 hours drive from Marrakech) a town around 90 kilometres south of Fez in Ifrane.  The cedar forests and monkeys are what draw visitors to the town, but it is also home to an important Berber market and the origin of Beni Mguild carpets, colourful rugs woven with a thick pile to protect against the cold winters of the region.  Here we have 150 women working their magic, using traditional weaving techniques to create modern pieces on vertical looms.  This is where our pile rugs are woven and a carpet with the dimensions of approximately 3 x 2 metres can take around 25 days to weave.   Our second workshop is in the High Atlas region, where we have 50 women working, and is where our modern Berber kilims are woven.  This weaving technique is more complicated and the same size wool kilim can take 50 days to complete.  Finished pieces then make their way down to our Riad showroom, Bazar du Sud, in Marrakech Medina.  Showroom visits are always available by appointment.  Contact us here in the UK on 07746 727536 or in Morocco on 00212 661245401 and speak to El Yazid Lamdaghri.

We have samples of our modern Berber kilims here in the UK, and if you’re unsure of any colour or design, we can send these out on loan.  We are also happy to  provide a consultation service in your own home.  All of our modern Berber rugs and kilims can, of course, be made to your own size specification; although we do have a stock of ready made pieces in various designs and colourways in our Marrakech showroom.  The image below shows a blue kilim on the wall on the left, which is a beautiful example of modern Berber weaving.  Please get in touch if you would like to see any samples, images, or require any information on sizes and prices.  info@marbleandmint.co.uk.

INTERIOR TRENDS AUTUMN/WINTER 2017

Elle Decoration August Edition is out now, with everything you need to know about Autumn/Winter 2017 trends (yes we’re there already).  #1 is Fifties Colours.  I love these colour combinations, and this takes me back to my student days when my first room sheme was based on the designs from this period.

Fifties Colours – Photos Courtesy of Elle Decoration

Mustard yellows, pinks, burgundy and olive make up the season’s trending colours, and I can see the wildly abstract colours and designs of a vintage Boucherouite rug fitting perfectly with this colour palette.  We’re planning to add a collection of smaller size Boucherouite rugs to our collection very soon, with the idea that these easy care, washable rugs are ideal for a bathroom, so look out for those in our online shop soon.

#2 home trend is Global Fusion.  This is all about combining home accessories that you love and that express your personality, regardless of their style or origin.  In other words, anything goes, and I absolutely love this idea of cultural fusion.  I have objects that I’ve collected from Africa, India, Indonesia and Morocco and they all come together to create a completely original scheme.

Parisian home of Marina Coriasco, photo courtesy of Elle Decoration

 

Try mixing woven baskets, clay pots, wooden accessories and textile wall hangings.  The muted colours and organised tribal designs of our flatweave Kilims are perfect additions for this trend.  Don’t forget that if you don’t see the sizes you need in our online shop, we can created your perfect custom kilim in our workshop in the Atlas Mountains, with a lead time of approximately 6 weeks.

 

 

 

JEBEL SIROUA – MID-CENTURY KNOTTED RUGS

New to our website this week is a small collection of mid-century, hand knotted wool rugs from Jebel Siroua, in the southern High Atlas region.  This is a quiet corner of Morocco, rarely attracting visitors, where the local Berber people live a simple traditional life, grazing their sheep and farming almonds and saffron, for which the region is famous.

Photo courtesy of Adventure Peaks Limited

It is extremely cold in this part of the mountains, with snow usually covering the summit of Jebel Siroua in the winter (an ancient strato volcano) which can only be reached with ropes by professional climbers.  By Easter the snow melts, and Autumn sees the long, time consuming task of harvesting the saffron.  Carpets are woven here in the homes of the Berber tribes, and at any time if you visit you can see the weaving of carpets in production and enjoy a cup of saffron tea!

Check out our collection of rugs from this remote region, which are around 70-80 years old, and all completely unique.

THE COLOUR PINK (not just for girls)

It’s no secret that pink is one of my favourite colours and when I’m looking through new stock to add to our website, my eye will always be drawn to any rugs with a background of blush pink or pops of a brighter pink tint.  There’s an ongoing trend for blush pink in both interiors and the fashion world and if you’re interested in colour psychology, pink is said to have a calming effect when used in interiors, inspiring feelings of security and safety.   It’s a complete coincidence that my favourite city, Marrakech, is known as the ‘pink city’.  The pigments in the earth in the area create a beautiful salmon pink coloured plaster which decorates the exterior of the majority of the buildings.

Pink is a tint made from a combination of red and white.  Adding a touch of black darkens the tint, and adding a small amount of another colour will give an undertone of that colour to the pink tint.  The name ‘pink’ may date back to the 17th century and may be derived from the Dutch flower ‘pinken’.  In almost every culture there is a stereotypical view that pink is for girls and blue for boys, but it wasn’t until the 1950’s that pink was strongly associated with femininity.  The symbolism of the colour could argue that the opposite is true, that pink is derived from red which is active, hence masculine.  In the 18th century it was considered perfectly masculine for a man to wear a pink silk suit.  Pink can be a very contradictory colour with associations to both feminine and masculine, tenderness and shallowness.

Below is a beautifully serene and calming bedroom at the wonderful El Fenn riad in Marrakech.  Don’t forget to check out the pink tints in our new collection of Boucherouite rugs now available in our online shop.

 

 

RUG TRENDS 2017 – Vintage

My favourite interiors mag arrived through the door yesterday morning.  In their June edition, Elle Decoration UK have featured the six biggest trends in rugs at the moment and guess what…..Vintage comes in at No.6.  No surprise there then!

vintage

With such a huge range of vintage rugs available to buy in the marketplace, we’re really pleased to be able to offer a choice from a huge collection in Marrakech, from the minimalist design of a classic Beni Ouarain rug to the artistic and colourful design of a Boucherouite rug.   Buying a vintage rug will give you the guarantee that there will be no other exactly the same, but there are certain things to look out for when buying.

Vintage Berber rugs were originally woven for their utility, usually sold by families to raise money, and most will have had a long and useful life.  Look out for signs of wear and small repairs, this is completely normal and desirable in a genuine vintage piece. Most will have been used in a family home for around 20-30 years.  If a rug looks too perfect, chances are it’s a relatively new piece.  Additional photos of our rugs are always available, and we can carry out any additional repairs required.

Check that the rug has been washed.  All of our rugs and washed and dried prior to shipping from Morocco.

Remember that some of the dyes used in a colourful rug may not necessarily be colour fast.

Happy shopping!

 

SAMPLE SERVICE FOR MODERN BERBER KILIMS

As part of the introduction of our modern Berber range, we are pleased to be able to offer a sample service for our modern Kilims.  These are just a few of the sample sizes arriving from Marrakech shortly, they will be available in various colours and designs.  We understand how difficult it is to know exactly what the texture/weave/design of a flatweave is like and exactly how this will look in your own home and so, depending upon your location, we will be happy to either send out samples on loan, or come out to see you to have a chat about your requirements.  If you’re thinking about commissioning a bespoke modern Berber Kilim, or if you would just like to see a sample before ordering an off the peg piece, please get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help.  info@marbleandmint.co.uk

 

A TRADITIONAL BERBER HOME

Well worth a read in the current edition of World of Interiors magazine is an article entitled ‘Menage and Menagerie’ featuring a traditional Berber home in the High Atlas Mountains, near Taroudant and some fantastic photography by Roland Beaufre.

The home of El Habib and Fatima has been constructed entirely from natural materials found in the mountains, with rooms arranged around a central courtyard in traditional Moroccan style.  The courtyard contains the building’s one and only tap, where the family do the laundry and washing up.  The whole structure is supported by twisted branches from the Argan tree, well known for producing the famous Argan oil now used widely in cooking, cosmetic products and for medicinal purposes.  The family receive visitors in the main reception room, dotted with palm stools arranged around a low round table, to eat and drink tea.

Man and beast live in harmony in traditional Berber homes, a hole in the floor providing light and ventilation for the cows kept in the basement below, who in turn provide a natural source of heat to the occupants upstairs.  Peacocks are kept and stay indoors during the day and guard the house outside at night.  Dogs, however, are always kept outside.  Donkeys even have their own doorway!

A 1950’s space, with seating arranged around the walls of the room and soft, pastel coloured plaster walls, has the addition of a brightly coloured Boucherouite rag rug.

You can read the full article and the interview with the family by Marie-France Boyer in May’s Edition of World of Interiors.  Photography credit: Roland Beaufre.