When people think of Moroccan rugs, a few tribes instantly come to mind. By far, the 3 most common are Beni Ourain, Azilal and Boucherouite. There is scads of information online about all of the above mentioned tribes and styles of rugs, which I will leave you, dear reader, to peruse at your leisure. Today, your scholars here at Mellah—aka Knotty Boy Rug Company—will be discussing the weavings of the Zaiane Confederation—a group of a dozen or so tribes who occupy the areas surrounding the Middle Atlas town of Khenifra.
What's interesting and different about them is that the pile side is on the back of the rug, and the front looks like a flat weave. This weaving technique gives a flat, no pile appearance, but the weight and density of a higher pile carpet, which essentially means the rug is heavy enough so the frigging thing won't slip all over the floor without an under pad. The weavings were not only made to be floor coverings, they were also used as tent walls, and even saddle covers.
We fell in love with these rugs right away. They are really different from the usual Berber rugs in that they have the geometry and symmetry of Oriental rugs, but the wackiness, artistic naïveté, and handcrafted warmth of the best tribal rugs. They have a timelessly chic art deco vibe— you could picture one in Coco Chanel's living room, maybe underneath a mother of pearl and camel bone inlaid commode, or placed against a wall adorned with Royal Pineapple Krane Wallpaper. Zaianes are exotic and clean. They rail against the dull and cowardly whitewashed minimalism trend that has taken over.
The response to Zaiane rugs has been tremendous. We have sold a lot in Toronto, but also shipped all over Canada and the US. The appetite for Moroccan rugs in Canada is definitely growing, and we're thrilled to be a part of that. Could these rugs one day supplant the beautiful yet ubiquitous Beni Ourain as the "it" Moroccan rug in Canada? Will Zaianes appear in the salons and drawing rooms of Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto? Do people still have those rooms in their homes? Who will make the first mass-market Zaiane? Pottery Barn, West Elm, or some other basic-ass chain store? Why are we all here anyways? Stay tuned for the answers to these questions and more!