Berber Rugs

Posted on April 05, 2016 by Svein Piene | 0 comments

Our Vintage (30-40 year old) handmade Moroccan textiles are the product of the rich traditions and techniques handed down from generation to generation by an ethnic group named Berbers, residing in the middle Atlas Mountians of Morocco. The high elevations and cold temperatures, naturally gave rise to the production of heavy-pile rugs such as Azilal for sleeping mats and bed coverings to keep warm.  The rugs were naturally dyed using saffron for yellow color, henna for red, and pomegranate for burgundy. The Berber people are traditionally semi – nomadic, resulting in the production of handmade rugs on smaller, portable looms.  You will never find a vintage Berber rug that is wider than 7ft!

In the 1930’s, famous designers and mid century modernists Charles and Ray Eames (designer of the original Eames lounge chair) began incorporating Berber rugs with abstract designs as a counterpoint to their sleek, minimalistic furniture.  Their ability to add warmth, color and a little ethnicity is exactly what they needed to balance their otherwise neutral spaces. Berber rugs are not just on-trend, but more importantly, are timeless pieces that can have a place in the home for a lifetime.  Although they have been a staple in interior design for almost 85 years, it’s only been the last 10 years where they have gained popularity in western culture, fueled by social media, design magazines, and desire for high quality, one-of-a-kind items for the home.

Popularity also comes with downsides: Many high end home stores are producing replicas of traditional Berber rugs made outside of Morocco (India being the world’s largest rug producer).  This is positive if large companies are donating money back to support education, healthcare and access to clean water.  It can also be viewed as a lack of creativity on their part, by simply replicating authentic works of art, instead of paving their own creative path.

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