Morocco

Located less than 10 miles from Europe on the north, with Algeria to the east and the ever-encroaching African Sahara to the south, Morocco is a land defined by rugged geography, age-old traditions and a strong sense of the exotic. Sitting at a cultural crossroads between East and West, Morocco has always been international in temperament. For centuries, the indigenous population of Berbers has welcomed Arabs, Jews, Christians, artists, merchants, explorers, travelers and others. All have had an influence on culture and the wondrous heritage of the Moroccan artisan.

Artisan Culture

Artisans have been plying their trade and crafting their wares for hundreds—and in some cases such as rug making—thousands of years. These are skills that are transferred from one generation to another, from master artisan to budding apprentice. They also involve an obsessively detailed and time intensive process, as only traditional tools and methods are used in the creation of authentic handcrafted goods.

At Atlas Showroom, we scoured the countryside, visited the souks, talked to the local artisans, watched how they worked and came away with some of the highest quality genuine handcrafted goods available anywhere. As of November 2015, these home décor items have been exclusively sourced from four distinct regions of Morocco as follows:

  • Taznakht is a town in Ouarzazate Province, in the Souss-Massa-Drâa region of southern Morocco where the Atlas Mountains are located. The town is principally known for its Berber-style handmade carpets made of wool (usually sheep wool). Here, it is the women who are the master weavers and rug makers, and they employ their imagination to design and create these wonderful, spellbinding carpets, which are 100% wool.

  • Marrakesh is one of Morocco’s major cities, and it’s located in the mid-southwest part of the country near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains. Marrakesh is one of the most important of Morocco's four former imperial cities (cities that were built by Moroccan Berber empires). Along with Fez, it lays claim to a teaming and labyrinthine old quarter or medina, whose vibrancy is still very much intact today and whose master artisans are responsible for much of our furniture: tables, chairs, mirrors, vases, lamps, etc.

  • Fez is one of the jewels of North Africa and is considered the cultural capital of Morocco; it served as the actual capital of the country until 1925. The city has two old medinas, the larger of which is Fes el Bali. UNESCO has listed it as a World Heritage Site and it is considered to be one of the world's largest car-free urban areas. The medina itself is wonderfully vibrant and maze-like, festooned with an irresistibly diverse range of exotic sights, sounds and smells---and always the traditional artisan busy at work. This is where we source our copper lamps.

  • Safi is a city in western Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean. This historic city was once under protectorate by the Portuguese Empire in the 15th and 16th centuries, and a fortress ( built by Vasco da Gama's brother-in-law) still exists there today. Safi is the primary fishing port for the country's sardine industry and the city is also a big exporter of textiles and ceramics. Morocco is one of the major centers of pottery in the region and Atlas Showroom was fortunate to acquire many of our handcrafted ceramic items here in Safi.