Vintage Moroccan rugs offer a contemporary look with traditional cultural appeal

  • April 01, 2015 08:56

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Vintage Moroccan Rug 48365 at Nazmiyal
Vintage Moroccan Rug 48364 at Nazmiyal

NEW YORK, NY.- This Spring, vintage Moroccan rugs have been experiencing a surge in popularity: From fashion houses like Lanvin and Tory Burch, who referenced traditional Moroccan weaving in their recent collections, to top interior designers like Markham Roberts and Tom Scheerer, who utilize the minimalist, contemporary look of Moroccan rugs in their clients homes, today's most stylish professionals are drawing inspiration from this traditional African craft. 

It's easy to see why so many high-profile designers are drawn to these one-of-a-kind rugs: They range from spare and geometric, composed in contemporary palettes of cream and charcoal, to vibrant and lush, with jewel-toned, fluffy pile, reminiscent of the psychedelic shag rugs of the 1960's, but with an indigenous authenticity. They are unfussy yet luxurious; cozy, yet artful. They evince the sort of comfortable elegance sought after by today's most fashionable homeowners, and with a rainbow of color combinations to choose from, it's easy to find a great Moroccan rug for almost any interior design scheme. 

The Nazmiyal Collection, a Manhattan-based antique carpet dealer, keeps a large collection of vintage Moroccan rugs in its inventory, and recently acquired over 50 more, to keep up with customer demand. Owner of the company Jason Nazmiyal attributes their popularity to the fact that they integrate seamlessly with the contemporary decorating trends, from spare industrial interiors, to futuristic mid-century modern influenced rooms, to eclectic bohemian spaces: "Vintage Moroccan rugs feel fresh and modern. Our customers, which include some of the best interior decorators in the US and abroad, have discovered that these rugs give their clients' homes a look that is refined and sophisticated, but also incredibly unique". 

Although vintage Moroccan rugs have a look that harmonizes beautifully with contemporary home design aesthetics, the tradition of weaving in this style goes back centuries in Africa, as an integral part of culture for the Moroccan Berber tribe. 

The Berbers are a group of nomadic people indigenous to North Africa, west of the Nile Valley. The history of the weaving tradition in this culture dates back to 622 AD. Throughout the history of the Berber tribe, Berber women began learning their familial patterns, looping techniques, and color ranges from the time they were small children. Their techniques were passed down by watching their mothers and grandmothers weave the intricately designed carpets that would be used for domestic purposes like bedding and as insulation against the cold. The Berber tribe of Morocco is traditionally nomadic, inhabiting both the hot and arid desert climate of the Sahara, as well as cold and snowy regions of the Atlas Mountains. These two disparate climates caused Moroccan weavers to develop different kinds of rugs for different weather conditions: Thin, low-pile kilims were used in hot climates to protect against the elements, while fluffy, high-pile rugs were used for warmth in the cold mountainous region. 

Designs and motifs woven into these rugs vary greatly. Some rugs feature recognizable tribal symbols, such as depictions of typical Berber tattoos, while others are simply free-form abstractions, completely from the imagination of the weaver. Unlike more formal oriental rugs, Moroccan rugs are not often symmetrical, and rarely have identifiable repeating patterns, which gives the rugs an abstract look that calls to mind--but does not spring from-- the Post-Modern tradition in Western art history. When one sees the vibrant colors and innovative patterning on these carpets, it is easy to see why they have recently become a favorite for stylish homeowners and decorators. 

In previous years, lovers of these beautiful rugs would have to travel to Morocco or coordinate with foreign dealers in order to shop for these pieces, but thankfully, the Nazmiyal Collection has made acquiring a vintage Moroccan rug attainable for anyone with an internet connection. With over 300 vintage Moroccan rugs currently available by shopping online or by visiting the Nazmiyal Collection showroom in Manhattan, Jason Nazmiyal has made browsing these delightful pieces much more accessible. 

Adding a Moroccan rug to your home is a great way to add a vibrant burst of color, or a chic textural element to your space. Thankfully, through the Nazmiyal Collection, procuring one of these fabulous pieces is easier than ever before. 

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Nazmiyal Collection

  • Omri Schwartz
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Nazmiyal Collection is the world’s source for antique rugs and decorative carpets. Since 1980 Nazmiyal has supplied some of the top interior designers, vendors, auction houses, museums and collectors across the globe.

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