MattoMatti: An extraordinary combination of art and craftsmanship
By Molly McPharlin | Photos: MattoMatti
The distinctive beauty of Moroccan rugs is front of mind when Matti Vilhunen recounts his reasons for bringing a slice of Morocco back to his native Finland. In his new business venture, MattoMatti, or Matti’s Rugs, Vilhunen connects Morocco’s Berber rug artisans with the Nordic and global markets.
Vilhunen originally owned businesses in the fields of art, food and vintage goods, before he found himself in Morocco for the first time in 2017. “I owned a restaurant and the chef was Moroccan. As a result, I visited the country. Immediately, the experience was mind-blowing. The hospitality, the colours, the architecture, the bustle and the landscapes were all so new and unique. While there, I visited a village market in Khemisset in the Atlas Mountains. I bought a carful of rugs from local Berbers, the indigenous people of North Africa.”
For a few years, Vilhunen thought about the rugs, mulling over business ideas. “During the pandemic, I decided it was time to try the rugs. I was lucky to find reliable partners, Yassine and Anissa. First, they sent me ten, then 20 rugs, and we slowly got to where we are now.”
A piece of art made from quality materials
For Vilhunen, the rugs are a form of self-expression. “They have meaning and tradition. For me, they even have a soul. The rugs are a piece of art,” he says. He also feels that customers appreciate their quality and the ambience they bring to a home.
“They are made using high-quality sheep’s wool. It’s a durable and natural material that effortlessly stays clean. The rugs can be traditional or modern. The colours of the natural dyes, which come from roots, vegetables, plants and mushrooms, are so unique.”
Working with local artisans
Vilhunen buys rugs from individuals and rug collectives. He doesn’t collaborate with factories. “We only work with people who contribute to their area and keep traditions alive. We pay the Berbers immediately.”
At the moment, Vilhunen sells the rugs mainly to customers in Finland, though he also ships worldwide. He plans to start marketing to the US and the rest of Europe this year. “I’d love to branch out to bigger interior projects like a restaurant, apartment or villa, using Moroccan tiles, ceramics and furniture, besides rugs,” Vilhunen says. “For example, I just sold a huge wooden door. There is so much potential and the Moroccan artisans are so talented.”
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Receive our monthly newsletter by email