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Marrakech by Way of Jersey City

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jun 15, 2012 01:05 AM
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by Laura last modified Jun 14, 2012

Mohamed Elmarrouf had an in when he set out to sell Moroccan design in America. The son of a Marrakech rug merchant, he brought his contacts to New York’s Chelsea Market where he originally set up shop amid specialty bakeries and blue-chip produce vendors. Now teamed with stylist Stephanie Rudloe, he operates Imports From Marrakesh as a virtual souk. In addition to selling leather poufs, Beni Ouarain carpets, and Moroccan wedding blankets, Imports from Marrakesh collaborates with architects and designers on custom tiles, embroidery, lattice woodwork, rugs, and filigreed lighting. Design luminaries like Michael Graves, Peter Marino, and Tom Sheerer are on the client list. You can place orders online or arrange to see pieces firsthand in the duo's Jersey City warehouse (call ahead for an appointment and directions). Better yet, you can book a guided shopping tour of Marrakech with Elmarrouf, who also happens to own his own hotel, Ryad El Maarouf , in Zaouia, the city's ancient medina. Above: Marrakesh palace ottomans , hand-embroidered in cotton or linen. Above: Imports From Marrakesh offers a range of cement tiles made to order in both traditional and modern Moroccan patterns. Above: Always in stock: wedding blankets , traditionally woven by a mother and daughter or two sisters and worn as capes at weddings and festivals. They're embellished with sequins as protection from the evil eye. Above: A Zemmour tribe handwoven pillow . Above: The shop sources both vintage and new Beni Ourain carpets made in the Atlas mountains. Originally woven on narrow looms to fit tight living quarters, they're now being produced by cooperatives of Berber women who have upped their scale and can produce custom sizes and patterns. Above: Homebase for Imports From Marrakesh is Ryad El Maarouf , their own four-room, one-hammam guest house. Insider tours of the souk and local workshops with Elmarrouf available on request. Photograph by Monika Biegler Eyers






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