Culture Through Design

AphroChic's Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason honor their Moroccan roots with their new lighting collection.

03/14/2019
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AphroChic Jeanine Hays Bryan Mason
Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason's new collection for Dounia Home celebrates Marrakech’s history and people.

When naming their new luxury lighting collection with Dounia Home, Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason of AphroChic chose to honor the collection’s Moroccan roots: “Amur Akush,” the original name of Marrakech, which means “The Land of God,” in Tamazight, the language of the Amazigh people. Handcrafted in Morocco, the Amur Collection blends culture and modern designs to tell the stories of its craftspeople — something Hays and Mason feel passionate about. See how their new collection celebrates Marrakech’s history and people.

Marrakech’s influence

Amur wall sconce

BM: We have always been inspired by the many cultures of the African Diaspora, and Morocco has a rich history, beginning with the founding of Marrakech, that not only echoes across the continent but had a major impact on the development of the culture and history of Europe as well. As the founding city of Morocco, Marrakech is nearly a thousand years old, and in that time, it made a number of amazing contributions to global design from its unique architecture to its amazing rugs and, of course, the lighting. We wanted to present a modern take on these beautiful designs that could help to bring some of that history and depth to our homes today with a contemporary aesthetic. 

Honored tradition, updated take

Amur table lamp

JH: This collection feels like Morocco, but is truly modern. We love that tension and really loved the idea that each piece is made by hand, using centuries-old techniques. Keeping with tradition, our lighting collection is available in brass, which is the traditional material of Moroccan lanterns. When you walk through the souks of Marrakech, which we did late last year, you see shimmering brass lanterns everywhere. It’s such a treat.

Working together

Amur floor lamp

BM: We began with the concept of wanting to create a modern take on traditional Moroccan design. From there, it was about deciding exactly what type of lighting we wanted to do. There’s been such a surge of creativity in lighting design in the past we wanted to make a contribution to that conversation that also fit with the vision of a soulful home that we always emphasize. As a result, we settled on a table lamp, a floor lamp, a chandelier and a sconce. We traded sketches and notes with Dounia until we found the designs that we all loved.

Artisan techniques

 

Amur chandelier

JH: With each piercing made by an artisan by hand, it’s important to us to show the craftsmanship in creating the lighting. The pierced metal technique that’s used to create the balls of the chandelier, sconce and floor lamp, as well as the shade of the table lamp, also has a long history in the region. And when you light these lamps, those metal piercings illuminate the wall in the most magical way. A flip of a switch and this lighting collection transports you to Morocco.

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