By Rania Tazi
By Rania Tazi
Casablanca – As guests of The Ministry of Arts and Handicraft, three researchers at the Antique and Design Center (ADC) of High Point in North Carolina, USA, performed intensive market research on May 30-June 5 in Morocco.
The researchers received an invitation to conduct their study from the Ministry’s representatives, and enjoyed the opportunity to meet many members of the home furnishings market in Morocco, including artisans, business owners and members of the Ministry. They were able to share their expertise regarding the American home furnishings market and learn extensively about the techniques and labor required to creating hand-made furnishings in Morocco.
Since its opening in 2010, the ADC has become, according to High Point, a “must-visit destination for leading interior designers, architects and retailers in the US and international markets.” As such, it organizes bi-annual exhibitions of antiques, unique hand-made artisan pieces and an educational lectures series at the High Point Market, the most prominent furnishings trade show in the world.
During their stay in Morocco, the ADC team prepared a comprehensive report for the Ministry of Arts and Handicrafts evaluating the potential for the Moroccan hand-made furniture industry in the American luxury home furnishings market. The team studied products, showrooms, and artisan workshops to thoroughly evaluate the Moroccan industry.
ADC founder Karen Luisana stated, “We think Americans are ready for a taste of Morocco and we want to help them discover it and fall in love as we have.” Amanda Kinney, another member of the ADC team, noted, “A growing trend in the US is the idea of a well-traveled home. People are tiring of grey-beige and are longing for color, texture and layers that will conjure thoughts of romance and adventure that speak to them.”
Hassan Samrhouni, Moroccan-American CEO and president of Morocco Premier Events and Showroom, helped facilitate this project. Born in Morocco but a resident of America for 30 years, he is deeply involved in Moroccan-American relations. His ultimate goal is “to bring Morocco to America,” and he has personally done so by bringing Moroccan furnishings, rich in traditions and superbly crafted, to his gallery and cultural center in Sterling, VA. This gallery is a “window to Morocco,” according to High Point, and is where Americans come “to find treasures from a far-away land.”
To encourage the development of craft production and facilitate market flow between countries, the late King Mohammed V created La Maison de l’Artisan in 1957. This center invests in the education of young artisans in order to keep a centuries-old art-form alive. The mission is expected to not only support the marketing campaign of hand-made products but also to secure the image and brand of “Moroccan handicraft.”
The ADC therefore plays a crucial role in furthering the King’s goal, since it boost the Moroccan economy by creating a demand for Moroccan handicrafts in the USA in addition to spreading the cultural wealth of Morocco abroad.