Marrakech is a city that is full of interesting sights, there are a lot of fascinating things to do and unique places to explore; but very few places are as interesting, as fascinating or as unique as Chez Monsieur Michelin, a small boutique selling products made from recycled tires and inner-tubes.
As we entered the boutique we were met by Monsieur Michelin himself Thierry Coudert, a well-travelled Frenchman with a lot of stories to tell and a certain willingness to tell them. He explained that he first recognised the versatility of recycled tires and inner-tubes when living in Benin, a small country at the base of Western Africa. After moving to Marrakech, he decided to set up a small business utilising this newfound knowledge. The items Thierry and his team make are unique, quite unlike anything we have seen before: the glossy black finish of the recycled inner tubes and reclaimed tires are not dissimilar to a faux-leather effect, but with a softer, smoother feel and the products are very well made and immaculately finished.
Thierry explained that he sources the recycled and reclaimed rubber from a variety of sources: bicycle inner-tubes are collected from locals and local workshops; larger inner-tubes are sourced from aeroplanes at the local Menara airport and he travels to Agadir to collect larger tractor tires. From this, each different material is used for a custom-made use: the bike inner-tube becomes smaller jewellery items like earrings; the larger inner-tubes are stitched together to make bags and sometimes even clothes and the larger tractor tires are used for a variety of items, most ingeniously the soles of handmade sandals.
All the products are made in his workshop, here in the Marrakech medina, before being transported to his boutique for final adjustments. Thiery told us that, in his workshop, he mainly employ students and women who need a job to support themselves in order to help those within the community who struggle the most.
Chez Monsieur Michelin is located towards the end of the ‘Needle and Thread’ Medina Walk on the free MarrakechRiad app. The boutique is well worth a visit, to witness the ways in which the traditional needle and thread techniques have been reimagined for the modern world and the unique way in which one person’s waste can be remade into another person’s treasure. If you would like to find out more about the free MarrakechRiad app, the ‘Needle and Thread’ walk or any of our other Medina walks then our Riad staff would be happy to help.