MODERN WEAVING IN THE MOUNTAINS – BENI OUARAIN RUGS

With a wide spectrum of colours available, and the ability to specify your own size and even the design, modern Beni Ouarain rugs are becoming increasingly popular.  Using wool from sheep kept at high elevations (thick and soft) Berber women weave these rugs on vertical looms, in exactly the same way as they have been made for centuries. Each rug can take at least one month to complete, and is washed and dried in the sun many times to achieve its characteristic soft and silky texture.  The texture improves with each washing.

Our partner, a family business in Marrakech, Bazar du Sud, have their own workshop in the Anti Atlas region, an area of rocky outcrops and small villages, where their workforce arrive every morning to produce, for them exclusively,  their own designs and bespoke orders.  They travel the long journey into the mountains regularly to check on orders and to transport completed pieces back to Marrakech.  If you would like to commission a custom made Beni rug, or would like to see more of our stock in Marrakech, please email us at info@marbleandmint.co.uk.  We will be happy to help.

 

 

2016 …..THE BEST BITS, AND LOOKING FORWARD

Looking back over the last year, some of the best bits have to be seeing the photos from our amazing day shooting at The Roost and Dalston Heights in Hackney.  This montage has been put together by photographer Ann Ashfield.  Early in 2017 we’re planning to do a shoot at the very cool home of a friend in the music business.  With her huge vinyl collection and walls covered in gold, silver and platinum discs, that should be great fun!  We’ll keep you posted.

Looking forward to the coming year, we will be working more closely than ever with our partner/supplier Bazar du Sud in Marrakech.  Their inventory of both new and vintage carpets is second to none.  If you’re in Marrakech, and you would like to pay them a vist, let us know.  Yazid and his team will be sure to give you a very warm welcome.

Inspired by this amazing image, we’ll be adding some Beni Ouarain runners to our site over the next few days.  This is the first time I’ve actually seen a Beni stair runner, but after doing a bit of research, I found that this one was commissioned by Frances Elkins, legendary decorator and sister of architect David Adler, in 1929 for a Chicago interior.  Just stunning.  Happy New Year everyone!

MARRAKECH – THE HUB OF THE MOROCCAN RUG TRADE

We’re just back from our sourcing trip to Morocco, and remain convinced that Marrakech is still the best place to source Moroccan rugs.  The weather was unseasonably hot and humid, with just a little rain on one morning which very quickly disappeared.  Staying in an unfamiliar part of the Medina, it was an adventure as always to find our way to familiar places, but souk wandering is a must when you’re here!

We’ve seen some beautiful new Beni Ouarain productions, in a range of new colours and designs (including blue and pink!) all up on our website soon…..and have some more stunning Flatweaves and Boucherouite already on their way over to the UK.  Our partner/supplier has such a vast inventory of both old and new rugs, all catalogued and photographed that we are sure that if we can’t find what you’re looking for here in Marrakech, it can’t be found!  We’ll be adding a collection of vintage Beni Mguild rugs to our website soon, reversible pieces where the design is clearly visible on the back of the carpet.

In the meantime check out our collection of Petit Beni Ouarain, some beautifully soft small rugs, made from the finest quality wool, all originally made as samples.  These are also located in Marrakech, and we’ll be uploading additional photos of these over the next few days.

BENI OUARAIN RUGS – BLACK OR BROWN?

Trawling through the internet this morning to find a suitable image to illustrate the difference between ‘black’ and ‘brown’ designs on a Beni Ouarain rug.  Unfortunately we don’t know the source of this beautiful photo, but you can clearly see that the classic lattice design on this lovely Beni rug is woven in brown wool.  So what is the difference? and how can you know what you are buying?  It is often very difficult to tell from photos whether a design is in fact brown or black. If you’re working with a neutral palette, either brown or black will probably work in a room, but we are often asked by clients specifically for a Beni rug with a ‘black’ design.

You can find vintage Beni rugs woven with either brown or black designs, but ‘black’ will often have faded down to a lovely charcoal grey over years of use and washing.  However, it is worth noting that contemporary Beni Ouarain rugs woven with undyed wool are invariably woven with a brownish coloured wool, the reason for this is simply that wool from pure black sheep has become increasingly difficult to source.  Therefore if you do find a modern Beni rug with a black design, you can probably assume that the wool has been dyed.  This doesn’t detract from its beauty in any way of course!  If you are looking specifically for a rug with a black design, we will do our best to find one for you, and this often involves getting some really good close up photos of the rug to double check the colour of the design.  A custom made rug can, of course, be made in the colour of your choice

info@marbleandmint.co.uk

MID-CENTURY MODERN

If you’re as much a fan of Moroccan rugs as we are, you will know that they were first introduced to the world of interior design by mid-century modernists such as Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto, Charles and Ray Eames and Frank Lloyd Wright, who used (now classic) Beni Ouarain carpets in his design of Fallingwater House.  So what is mid-century modern? It’s a term which describes architecture and design for a period of roughly three decades, from the 1930’s to the 1960’s.  The abstract art of Berber rugs was used by these mid century designers to create a complete contrast to the sleek, modern designs of furniture and buildings of the period.

Photo Credit Livingetc. UK
Photo Credit Livingetc. UK

The mid-century vibe is currently enjoying a bit of a revival, although it never really has gone out of style.  Mixing pieces of re-claimed or re-invented pieces of mid-century furniture and accessories can make a contemporary home completely unique.  Vintage Moroccan rugs do of course fit perfectly with this aesthetic!  Most vintage pieces found were woven from the 1950’s to the 1970’s.

Mid-century New York Apartment. Photo credit mid-centuryhome.com
Mid-century New York Apartment. Photo credit mid-centuryhome.com

Read more about how to give your home mid-century appeal with Livingetc. (see their Facebook page).  We love the etagere by Jonathan Adler for displaying a treasured vinyl collection!

Photo credit housetohome.co.uk
Photo credit housetohome.co.uk

BLACK AND WHITE BENI OUARAIN RUGS

There are so many new styles of contemporary Beni rugs coming out of Morocco at the moment.  With the increasing prices and scarcity of vintage pieces, weavers are becoming more and more inventive as people look to buying a rug with a contemporary feel but made with traditional techniques.  The latest to arrive is the black Ben Ouarain.  Made from super soft hand spun wool, the black background is broken down with flecks of creamy white wool.  An absolutely stunning addition to contemporary or minimalistic space! For more information and prices please email us at info@marbleandmint.co.uk