The Pomegranate Blog

A Truly Inspirational Design Book For You

A Truly Inspirational Design Book For You

Today, I'm going to keep it short but I have a wonderful design book recommendation for you if you're after some interiors, architectural or garden inspiration.

It's called "Marrakesh: The Secret of its Courtyard Houses" and has been in my design library for years. It's totally gorgeous and one of my absolute favourites!

It’s got everything you want a great design book to have. It covers the history of the city of Marrakesh, its origins, gardens and architecture and in particular the relationships between the gardens, courtyards and houses. 

And of course all this is complemented with beautiful photography of houses and riads, architectural details, gardens, flowers and interiors. There are gorgeous images of carved stone, metalwork, tiling in those magnificent Moroccan colours and patterns, fountains and pools, lattice screens, vibrant colours, intricate light fittings and fantastic textiles. 

Morocco has such a rich and varied design heritage doesn’t it? And one of the things I love about this book (and that I think you would enjoy as well!) is that it covers not only the old but also highlights newer more contemporary interpretations and adaptations of the houses and their courtyards. And as you know, I like nothing more than a bit of style fusion!   

Have you been to Marrakesh? Were you taken in by this lovely architecture? I haven’t had the opportunity to go there yet but it sits quite prominently at the top of my travel list! Not only to see and experience this rich architectural and design heritage, but to check out the amazing craftsmanship and interiors products they make! I would love to include some of them in the offering at Pomegranate

But, for now, I would encourage you to check this wonderful book, whether simply for inspiration or for ideas to incorporate in your design scheme if you are looking to introduce a bit of Moroccan fusion style in your home. 

To recap, it’s called "Marrakesh: The Secret of its Courtyard Houses" and is by Quentin Wilbaux and published by ACR Edition. Happy Reading!

'till next time...

Photo Credits: Photo by Nicole Antar

Blatt Chaya: A Beautiful Craft Revived

Blatt Chaya: A Beautiful Craft Revived

Today, I want to tell you the story of a fantastic niche brand from Lebanon, called Blatt Chaya.

If you’ve been following the story of Pomegranate for a while, you’ll know that I'm always looking to find brands that make great handmade products with quality craftsmanship. What I particularly like though, is when they also help preserve and revive age-old crafts and techniques, giving them a new and contemporary lease of life in today's crazy mass-market world. 

Whilst doing a little research for another blog post about our brand Images d’Orient, I came across the charming Lebanese brand that is Blatt Chaya, and because I loved its story and the principles it stands for, I just had to tell you about it. 

Blatt is the Arabic word for tiles and the company belongs to the Chaya family. The driving and creative force behind the business is Edgard Chaya who, having thought he had retired after a long career in finance, re-discovered an old family business that was first started in 1881 but had lain dormant since the 1940s, and that he decided to revive.

Edgard Chaya Portrait on the Pomegranate Living BlogAfter a relative left him a box of old metal moulds which he researched, he realised that his ancestors were in the cement tile business. This doesn’t perhaps sound so amazing or romantic, but we are talking about the entirely handmade, wonderfully patterned and colourful tiles that can be found in some of the old houses in Beirut and in other areas of the Mediterranean.

They were very popular at the turn of the last century but lost a little of their popularity during the 1950s (and are the same tiles that have inspired so many of the designs in the Images d'Orient collection!).

He spent years rediscovering, studying and refining the craft until he was able to reproduce tiles in the same way his great-grandfather did. By designing and creating each mould by hand, using nothing but traditional materials and natural colours and an entirely craft-based production, this long forgotten art form gradually experienced a bit of a renaissance.

This video tells the story of Blatt Chaya beautifully:

 

As you saw in the video, as the news spread throughout the creative community in Beirut and Lebanon, demand from architects, interior designers started to increase and his tiles were being used in restoration projects of old houses and in more contemporary new homes as well.

BLATT CHAYA TILES IN SITU

Blatt Chaya Tiles in the Factory on the Pomegranate Lliving Blog

—  The Blatt Chaya workshop is a busy, happening place!

Blatt Chaya Tiles in Situ on the Pomegranate Blog

Blatt Chaya Tiles in Situ

Blatt Chaya Tiles in Situ

Blatt Chaya Tiles in Situ

Blatt Chaya Tiles in Situ

Blatt Chaya Tiles in Situ

Collage of Blatt Chaya Tiles

I love the story of Blatt Chaya don’t you? An old art is literally revived from the ashes and thanks to a sensitive and persistent retiree, Blatt Chaya tiles are now back in production and certified to be used not only in Lebanon but in various countries across the world including the UK. Bravo! 

I remember seeing tiles like these during a buying trip to Beirut a few years ago and being completely mesmerized by them. I was meeting a lady about some hand-blown glass and couldn’t keep my eyes off the floors in her studio - they were gorgeous!

As I write this, I realise that the coaster on my desk is a cement tile with a red and white pattern on the top which I bought on a trip to Spain. And that the Pomegranate branding includes patterns not too dissimilar to some of those in these pictures. Must be those Lebanese origins coming through…

'till next time...

Photo credits: All images courtesy of Blatt Chaya