NEW! Introducing Marketplace

Introducing a collection of affordable Berber rugs photographed in the raw in the heart of Marrakech Medina. There are no frills with this collection, just gorgeous rugs! Each piece will be despatched direct from our trading partner in Marrakech using FedEx Express service. This is a work in progress as there are literally hundreds of beautiful pieces we would like to add and we will constantly be reviewing and updating this collection, so keep an eye on this section of our website! We’ll be including both vintage and contemporary rugs, possibly also some stunning floor cushions and Handira, and needless to say each will be one of a kind. If you see something you like and would like a little bit more information or additional photos to help make a decision before you purchase, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line and we’ll be more than happy to help. Happy browsing!

Re-Sizing Your Favourite Contemporary Rug/Kilim

Even with the vast choice of rugs and kilims we have in our Marrakech showroom, sometimes you’re really stuck on that one favourite contemporary piece which is just a little too large for your space………not a problem! We now offer a re-sizing service to customise a rug or kilim to fit your requirements exactly. We use professional weavers in Marrakech who offer a very speedy turn around service (at no extra cost…you just pay the price of the rug/kilim). Any fringing or decorative edging is re-added so that your re-sized piece looks exactly the same as the original one you loved so much. Please get in touch if you would like more information info@marbleandmint.co.uk

Aicha’s House

If you love Moroccan rugs but are also interested in the heritage of the Berber people who weave them, grab yourself a copy of the March edition of World of Interiors magazine.  It features Aicha’s home, a traditional clay walled house in the Atlas Mountains.  I visited a Berber house a few years ago, and Aicha’s home is laid out in the traditional way with life revolving around an interior courtyard, except that this is the only house in the village that’s painted. It stands facing the rising sun, with its back to the river and a view of the slopes and Argan trees which are used as supporting pillars for the house. Aicha has used a combination of her imagination, memories and traditional Berber motifs to decorate the walls. Everywhere (except the limewashed kitchen) the colour of the clay walls peeps through.

I can remember being astonished to see that cattle are kept in the basement, but there is method in this as the heat from the cow’s body warms the house above.  A metal rack in the kitchen holds all of the pots and pans needed for cooking and glasses for mint tea.  The fridge is only for occasional use and runs on bottled gas and the hen will only lay eggs in the hay stored for the cows! Read the full story and see all of the gorgeous images of this richly decorated organic Berber home in this month’s edition of the magazine.

 

Images courtesy of World of Interiors magazine. Photography by Marc Belli.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MODERN BERBER KILIMS

As we move towards the lighter warmer days of Spring, what better time to think about updating the look of your room with a colourful flatweave kilim instead of a pile rug.  They are perfect to add texture and colour to a wooden, tiled or stone floor. We always have a good selection of vintage Berber kilims available in Marrakech, but did you know that we offer a bespoke service for our modern Berber kilims? They are woven by hand in the traditional way in our exclusive workshop in the Atlas mountains and can be made to both your size and design specification with a lead time of approximately 4-6 weeks.  We understand how difficult it is to know exactly what your kilim will look like when it arrives, close up photos will show the colour and design but our samples will show you the weight, texture and thickness of our kilims. Please get in touch if you would like to see a sample, we have several different colourways available.

info@marbleandmint.co.uk

 

MARRAKECH – WHAT TO SEE ACCORDING TO JASPER CONRAN

Ten tips of what to see in Marrakech by designer Jasper Conran who has recently designed his own stunning Riad in the heart of the Medina…..’L’Hotel Marrakech’,  (Images and text courtesy of Elle Decor Italia Itineraries). I will add my own personal recommendation for lunch at Cafe des Epices, sunset at Cafe de France and cocktails at La Mamounia…..next trip scheduled for early March 2018!

1. A place to have breakfast:

After strolling in the heart of the Medina among the numerous bazaars, and having visited the Souk (typical market in the central square), enchanted by the myriad of colors and perfumes, stop at the Café des Epices, the perfect place to enjoy a mint tea on a large multicolored rooftoop.

2. A fascinating place:

The Koranic school Medersa Ben Youssef, dating back to the 14th century. It is the best place to observe the typical decorations in stucco and inlaid cedar, combined with zellij tiling, typical colorful Moroccan mosaic tiles.

3. Somewhere to enjoy the sunset:

Nothing better than the main square, perhaps drinking a freshly squeezed juice or spice tea at one of the local street food stalls.

4. An architectural work to admire:

The Bahia Palace, a complex dating back to the 19th century, covers over 8 hectares of land and includes the gardens and areas reserved for the Sultan’s harem.
Among the decorations made by local artisans, you can stop for a quick drink at the Cozy Bar. From there, you can spot the nests of the storks on the ancient city walls.

5. A place to relax:

A stone’s throw from the Saadian Tombs, the SPA Les Bains de Marrakech is the perfect place for those who have never experienced the unique experience of Turkish baths.

6. A special place:

The Jardin Majorelle, acquired by the couple Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé in 1980, which immediately underwent restoration work. Inside them, there is an unmissable Berber museum.

7. Where to go for lunch:

Outside the city, the rural atmosphere lends itself to a bath and a relaxing lunch among the rose gardens, olive trees and orchards of the Beldi Country Club (also known as Jnane Tamsna).

8. An afternoon break:

An ice cream at the famous and historic Mamounia hotel is a must. Here, hundreds of colorful flowers and 18th century cider orchards create a unique atmosphere.

9. A restaurant for dinner:

In the heart of the main Jamaa el Fna square, from booth number 47 to 98, to experience all the good local food. Do not miss the Fish & Chips, the stew and hibiscus tea.

10. The following day. A corner from which to admire the sunrise:

The sky. Ciel D’Afrique balloon offers an exceptional view of the High Atlas Mountains and the Imperial City of Marrakech. It is an experience to be tried.

 

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.

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

 

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.