ADD TEXTURE AND CHARM TO YOUR SPACE WITH A MOROCCAN CARPET
Neale Whitaker on the timeless beauty of Moroccan rugs.
At what point does a design trend become a phenomenon? I’ve asked myself that question many times (I’m thinking more those sinuous Serge Mouille lamps and rattan-backed Jeanneret chairs than wooden antlers or “Keep Calm” signs) and I guess the answer is when it pops up in homes from Melbourne to Milan to Marrakech. Planning an issue of Vogue Living recently, I noticed that every home, regardless of its interior style or location, shared a single common denominator – the Moroccan rug. Now that’s a phenomenon.
The distinctive handwoven, deep-pile Beni Ourain rugs (named after the Moroccan Berber tribe) have become a design staple in recent years and I confess I’m a fan. I have an original from the 1970s and never tire of it. Like an original Eames chair or a Noguchi lamp, it’s timeless. My dogs are pretty smitten with it, too.
Interior designer Jason Mowen was among the first in Australia to champion Moroccan rugs. “I remember my first trip to Morocco and being blown away by these incredible rugs in our hotel,” he recalls. “There’s something seductive about them and I love how primitive they are, probably made the same way as they were a thousand years ago.”
Mowen says he’s seen Moroccan rugs change hands for up to $20,000 and the oldest he’s had at his Sydney gallery was from the 1920s: “So fragile it had to be hung on the wall.” He believes their broad appeal lies in “the texture and personality they add to almost any interior”. I’ve seen them used to stunning effect on concrete floors, paired with antique furniture, or as a rich foil to the clean lines of Scandinavian design.
If you’re reluctant to fork out for an original (no two Beni Ourain rugs are identical – you’re paying for individuality), there are plenty of affordable alternatives inspired by the traditional designs. Some of the best are from Armadillo & Co (armadillo-co. com), Loom (loomrugs.com) and Tigmi Trading (tigmitrading.com). And the trend’s ripple effect has spawned a plethora of ethnic designs in a similar palette that create – if not quite the luxury of Moroccan rugs – something pretty close. Take an insider tip and check out the amazing Argentinian weaves at Pampa (pampa.com.au). Neale Whitaker is editor-in-chief
of Vogue Living.