By Marlena Chavira-Medford
North Africa is dotted with rural villages, places where culture has seen little change over the centuries. It was here that Akram Mansori was raised and steeped in craftsmanship of the Berber people, in Tansania and in the remote mountains of Morocco
“I especially love the pottery, which is all handmade and hand painted,” he said. “In our culture, we don’t believe in machine-made pottery. If you look at hand-made pottery, each piece is unique — a paint stroke in the design on one piece may be a little different. That’s because a human hand made it, not a machine. That is what makes it beautiful.”
Mansori is now bringing a piece of that Berber culture to Solana Beach with Mirabella Home, a new import store he recently opened at Beachwalk Plaza. Here, you’ll find about 7,000 pieces of handmade pottery, plates, cups, platters, bowls, tiles, candle-holders and wall hangings. In addition to the ceramics — all of which are available wholesale, too — there are dozens of silver Moroccan lanterns. And should you have an interest in creating your own Moroccan feast at home, Mansori is happy to share his grandmother’s recipes for traditional dishes such as tanjine, a hearty stew slow-cooked in a clay pot.
Mansori also owns Mirabella Mansori Day Spa in the same shopping center. After running that venture since the early 1990s, Mansori said he saw a niche in the local market for North African imports, so when the time was right, he moved on it.
“You cannot find these imports just anywhere, these are especially rare in the U.S.,” he said. Peppered into those exotic imports are some high-end home items, such as Lafo House & Home candles, which were recently named to the always-coveted and ever-popular Oprah’s Favorite Things holiday list.
Mansori, who has been a merchant throughout Europe, said he could have opened his business in many other places, but wouldn’t want to be anywhere but Solana Beach.
“I’ve lived all over Italy, all over Spain, all over France. It just doesn’t get any better than here. You simply cannot beat the weather and the people are lovely and laid back. I love Solana Beach and this is the perfect fit for Mirabella Home.”
Mirabella Home is located at 437 S. Highway 101, suite 104. For more information, call 858-350-6557.