Beni Rugs’s Marrakech Office Is Essentially One Giant Cork Mood Board
Where Robert Wright and Tiberio Lobo-Navia work.
Published Aug 31, 2021 1:36 AM
Visiting a person’s workspace is like taking a peek inside their brain. Whether it’s at home or in an art studio, Where I Work explores where creative people do all of their, well, creating—so that you can steal their on-the-clock style.
Names: Robert Wright and Tiberio Lobo-Navia
Occupation: Cofounders of Beni Rugs
What time I start: Robert Wright: Mornings in Marrakech are peaceful because the U.S. is still snoozing. I always try to fit in a tennis match or workout, and then head to the studio straight from there. I get in around 10 a.m. to a very enthusiastic greeting from our mascot, Beni the dog. Tiberio Lobo-Navia: I love that we are five hours ahead of the U.S., so my mornings on this side of the Atlantic are chill. My day usually starts at around 7:30 with a coffee and then a workout in my home gym, before I head to the studio. I usually arrive between 10 and 11 a.m.
What time I clock out: Wright: It depends, but usually around 7 p.m. I then take a break for aperitivo hour and dinner, and work for another hour or so before bed to organize the day ahead. Lobo-Navia: I’m most productive and energetic toward the end of the day, and I am often the last person to leave the studio, around 8 p.m., because I enjoy those quiet hours when I can work uninterrupted. I’m also a night owl, so sometimes work continues after dinner in bed with a show and my Mina, my rescued Marrakshi street kitty.
Three words that describe our space: Wright: Immersive, layered, warm. Lobo-Navia: Buzzing, rustic, modern.
The most important thing in our office: Wright: By far my dog, Beni, whom I found when he wandered in off the street and onto the construction site eight months ago. He was very sick, but we nursed him back to health and he’s now king of the castle. A splurge for the office was a terracotta-colored Togo sofa. It’s now Beni’s bed. He won’t sleep anywhere else! Lobo-Navia: A 1:100 scale model of a Royal Air Maroc Boeing 757 with its old livery. I found it at an antiques shop here in Marrakech.
What’s on the walls: Wright: Cork from floor to ceiling that’s been oiled to the perfect brown. It’s like living inside an evolving mood board. Lobo-Navia: Some screen prints I produced in Tangier with Tangier Print Club. Inspiration for our upcoming collections is pinned to the cork walls.
My current creative fuel: Wright: Finally being able to move! I love travel more than anything, and after last year, this summer feels like freedom. I’m inspired by creative individuals I meet while exploring, soulful hospitality, and good food. Lobo-Navia: I’m loving my new iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. I’ve been using them so much for sketching and dreaming up new rug designs and new furniture pieces for the studio. But even more inspiring is getting to work so closely with our team of talented weavers on a daily basis.
What I turn to when I’m stuck: Wright: A game of pétanque in the front garden. Lobo-Navia: A long drive and music on full blast.
How I stay organized: Wright: I’m a psycho for to-do lists. I usually make one in the morning and one at night. Sometimes I put the easiest things in the world on there, just to get that feeling of satisfaction from crossing it off my list. Lobo-Navia: Robert. But if I have to do it on my own: my notebook(s), tasks in Gmail, my in-box.
Best notebook: Wright: Smythson makes the best notebooks in the world! I have two—one for big ideas and dreaming, and the other for the aforementioned to-do lists. I love the color of the pages. Lobo-Navia: Black top-spiral-bound, graph-paper Rhodia notebooks are my go-to. I always have five notebooks going at any one time.
Technology I can’t live without: Wright: Does our vintage Italian La Marzocco espresso machine count as technology? If yes, then it’s certainly that. Nothing like a midafternoon macchiato. Lobo-Navia: My new iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.
Desk chair that I could (and do) spend hours in: Wright: One of my very favorite parts of our office! Our Setu chairs by Herman Miller are the ultimate office chairs. They work beautifully in any setting and are truly so comfortable. Lobo-Navia: I love the Herman Miller Setu chairs we have in our office, but I spend even more time on the terracotta Togo corner piece. That is when Beni isn’t on it.
How I fight the 3 p.m. slump: Wright: See above; that macchiato is almost always necessary! Lobo-Navia: I don’t. I don’t schedule calls or meetings at that point and use the time to clear my mind or even take a power nap.
Ideal office snack: Wright: One of our studio assistant’s dads has been dropping off fresh plums from the Ourika Valley. They’re amazing and refreshing in this insane summer heat. Lobo-Navia: Cake.
Preferred soundtrack: Wright: My current playlist is a great mix of vintage disco, funk, and electronic. We just set up a sound system, so even the weavers have to put up with our love of the ’70s. Lobo-Navia: While working I like to have jazz and bossa nova from the 1960s and ’70s playing in the background.