Design lovers delight - Azilal rugs

A special tribal carpet that was almost unknown to buyers outside of Morocco until a couple of decades ago is increasingly captivating rug buyers. Azilal carpets, which come exclusively from the area that runs from the northern stretches of the High Atlas to the southern foothills of the Middle Atlas Mountains, are lustrous, almost cloth-like textiles with strong graphics and eye catching symbols, and those woven in the last twenty or so years have featured clear, bold and bright colours (earlier Azilal rugs tended to use only natural cream, brown and ash-grey colours, or other natural tints).

 A colourful vintage Azilal rug from Maroc Tribal

A colourful vintage Azilal rug from Maroc Tribal

We are not sure how long ago the Berber peoples started weaving these gorgeous rugs, as so little about them has been studied or recorded. Until a few years ago, they were they woven exclusively for personal use. Compared to big, thick and finely woven statement wool carpets that were made by women to be seen by guests in communal areas, Azilal rugs were often more relaxed and carefree, and were usually reserved for family and private spaces in the home.

They are woven with fine – often silky – hand-spun wool from the region, and more recently, women have added synthetics, cotton textiles and other recycled yarns to the weave. Many are woven on a cotton or textile base, and most have an ivory or cream pure wool background on which their weavers enact their creative licence: Azilal rugs are full of carefully crafted Berber motifs, and display playful and spirited approaches to rug creation. They have a loose structure, and are pliant and flexible; however this also means that not so many really old examples of these more delicate rugs exist.

 Bright Azilal rug in artist Cindy Sherman's home. Photo credit and rights Architectural Digest

Bright Azilal rug in artist Cindy Sherman's home. Photo credit and rights Architectural Digest

These rugs have attracted a great deal of attention in recent years. Their vibrant character suits contemporary homes, and they add a burst of colour, spontaneity and personality to a room. We will be introducing some more Azilals to the site over the coming weeks!