Palais Saadiens - Marrakech

by Violetta Sturiale

10 December 2013

In the vast suq of the ancient Médina, close by the Bab Laksour gate, the shop Palais Saadiens is known for its virtuosity in the production of traditional Moroccan carpets. Among colorful spices and deep Arabic voices, this fascinating corner of history is a staple among locals. 

Mohammed Khaoulani, the managing director of the shop, one of the most important in Marrakech, explains what makes an original moroccan carpet.

Is there any tradition related to the carpet in Morocco?

The carpet is a cultural element which is very important to us. In the history of Morocco, every woman made her own carpet when getting married. It was a real family tradition. If you look carefully at our products, you can immediately notice a difference between different types of rugs.

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What is the difference between a Berber and an Arabic rug?

The Berber one is the original Moroccan carpet. The style is very primitive and the peculiar elements are geometric draws (triangles, zigzag, lines) and earthy colors. If the patterns look familiar it's because the Berber rug has been celebrated by several artists, Kandinskij and Klee for example. 

The process for realizing a great Berber rug depends on the woman weaving it. She is like a storyteller, weaving the carpet with a secret language that every woman creates for herself. It’s like the canvas for a painter, or the blank sheet of paper for a writer. On a carpet, she can write the phases of her life. 

The Arabic rug is different as it's influenced by Ottomans and the Andalusians. There are less ancestral references, more floral patterns, and they're closer to the classic Persian carpet.

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What are the characteristics of your carpets?

Our carpets are wholly made of live wool sheep, because it’s softer than using wool from a deceased sheep. It takes approximately 16 months to create a single rug, and they're all reversible: there's a side for summer and one for winter.

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photography Ludovica Costanza Drusi

Palais Saadiens is located at 16, Rue My Taïb Kssour, Marrakech.

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