Beni Ourains, paradoxically modern and ancient, are an interior design classic. Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright brought these fluffy, monochromatic rugs into the western consciousness a long time ago, and Beni Ourains have recently exploded with many big brands making their own versions of them.
Rugs that look like Beni Ourains are available at places such as West Elm and Pottery Barn, but in our esteemed opinion here at Mellah, it is definitely worth getting the real thing. We can add Beni Ourain rugs to the list of things you should always buy the authentic, name brand version of: Heinz Ketchup, Duracell Batteries, or Tide Laundry Detergent. Sure, the store brand, cheaper versions of all these products will do what they're supposed to, but it's just not the same.
A by-product of these shameless and opportunistic imitators trying to copy the humble Beni Ourain tribes' artistry and craftsmanship is a backlash against the original rugs themselves. The more ubiquitous Beni Ourains get, the more people want to knock them down a peg or two. As purveyors and fans of these shaggy, tribal masterpieces, we are very much opposed to this sort of sentiment. Just because Nirvana influenced a ton of shitty bands in the 90's/early 2000's doesn't make Nirvana a bad band, you know?
Here in Toronto, your options for getting authentic Beni Ourains are limited. First of all, the truly authentic ones are all vintage, meaning that they tend to be narrow. 8x10, 9x12 sizes in legitimate vintage pieces simply do not exist. Traditional Berber houses were narrow, so long and skinny is the norm. Luckily in Toronto, the lots are narrow, so a 6x12' Beni Ourain could work well. They also fit well in condos, many of which have concrete floors and a stark, industrial finish. A judiciously placed Beni Ourain warms up such a space. Contemporary Moroccan Beni Ourains are available in every size, but they lack the simple, naïve beauty of the older ones.
Come check out our selection of vintage Beni Ourains at 1090 College St. in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. These rugs are best seen in person. You can scoop one up for cheaper on the internet, but it is definitely worth checking out the colour and pile before you buy.