Marrakech is not only an ideal destination for a sunny and cultural city trip, but this magical Moroccan city is also known for its skilled artisans in leather working, glass blowing and textile manufacturing, among others, who have been passing on their expertise from generation to generation for hundreds of years. This artisanal hotbed has not escaped the notice of many designers in the world of fashion, design and architecture either. Numerous lifestyle brands and (interior) architects come to Marrakech to find inspiration for their collections and projects, of which the iconic fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent is a striking example. This visionary spent much of his life in the Red City, and there is even a museum dedicated to him, designed by the famous French architecture firm Studio KO, which also had several spectacular private homes built in and around Marrakech. VILLAS visited this extraordinary city and shares its favorite interior design addresses.
Maison Sarayan is an interior design studio that specializes in contemporary interiors with a touch of Morocco. Their colorful style with a penchant for prints is clearly reflected in their interior accessories that are real eye-catchers in contemporary interiors. Those who love their elegant universe can recently visit their spacious boutique in the Sidi Ghanem neighborhood. This neighborhood is bursting with ateliers and concept stores where you can buy locally made products, both traditional items and contemporary products. Maison Sarayan also has a beautifully decorated bistro where you can enjoy a snack and a drink in between shopping. In the boutique you will find both large furniture such as tables and beds as well as unique interior accessories such as ceramic plates and bowls with traditional motifs and prints that are reinterpreted in a contemporary way. You will also find unique, sometimes antique, interior treasures found by the owner during her many travels through Morocco.
Belgian designer Valérie Barkowski lost her heart to Marrakech and started her eponymous brand of bedding and home wear there, which are made with the utmost care and attention to detail by local women. The collections include high-quality linens, towels, bathrobes and babouches that are hand-embroidered and decorated with details inspired by traditional Moroccan techniques. Her boutique is located in the medina, a stone’s throw from the souks. For those who just can’t get enough of Valérie’s sense of aesthetics, by the way, you can also stay in her seventeenth-century riad Dar Kawa, which has been fully restored and decorated in her signature style; a balanced mix of authentic local interior objects and an understated, contemporary feel.
A second new and interesting address in the Sidi Ghanem neighborhood is the multi-storey store and rooftop bar of the French brand Stella Cadente. The eye-catching brand is immediately recognizable by its typical bright and cheerful colors that are perfectly suited to a colorful and exuberant city like Marrakech itself. The brand, which includes among other things a clothing label and a brand of interior accessories and furniture, has for some time also had its own interior design studio and has drawn the interiors of numerous European hotels and restaurants. Creative director and founder Stella Cadente chose to settle in Marrakech because of the abundance of artisanal craftsmanship, the excellence of handicrafts and the inspiring confluence of cultures that give the city its enchanting character.
French designer Ludovic Petit has been living and working in Marrakech for more than twenty years and has been able to create a universe all his own there, after making his mark in haute couture, at Christian Lacroix and Kenzo. Petit is infinitely inspired by the impressions he gains in Marrakech; a walk in the famous souks can give him an idea for an unusual lamp, pouf or bag. The designer also draws complete interiors, such as the rooftop restaurant Le Douar, in the brand new and high-end M Avenue. Petit gave traditional elements of Moroccan heritage a contemporary twist, in parallel with the restaurant’s menu that offers local dishes from the various regions. Just next to the restaurant you will find Ludovic’s boutique, where you can buy the self-designed tableware from the restaurant and other interior accessories from his hand.
A Belgian designer of international fame, who also fell head over heels in love with Marrakech, is Laurence Leenaert. This young designer founded the lifestyle brand LRNCE in 2013 that creates textiles, ceramics, furniture and interior designs in bright and natural tones. Her remarkable water jugs, bowls and cushions breathe sunshine and zest for life and manage to immerse any interior with an Endless Summer feeling. The products are handmade in Morocco and are inspired by traditional local motifs and symbols as well as expressionist artists like Matisse and Picasso. You can find her studio in the bustling Sidi Ghanem neighborhood.