Design Brief meets Inspiration in a modern villa in Marrakech. The bland shell of this room could have been anywhere in the world, from Miami to Mumbai. Our client' brief was to convert it into a comfortable living space; our inspiration was to use the art and traditions of the host country to transform it into a room that did justice to its location in Morocco. The result exceeded all expectations!
The ceiling was carved and painted in Fez, to colours created in England, and highlighted using modern lighting techniques. The fireplace and all the furniture was sourced in England, the stucco walls were by English craftsmen, the Saracen statues were found in a Marrakech art gallery and the magnificent lanterns, display case and mirrors were all made by Moroccan artisans.
Patterns like these have been produced for centuries and are still made in the time-honoured way by generations of craftsmen.
The rooms in this modern villa followed local tradition by being centred round the courtyard, but that was where the tradition ended. Research into the artistic skills of the region resulted in the transformation of the ugly pillars into graceful columns that now rise up to balconies enhanced by lace-like carved plasterwork, capped by the green tiles of the ‘karmood’ that provides protection to the delicate plaster during the rainy season. The dull ‘hole in the wall’ fireplace was enhanced by fabulous ‘zelige’ tile work on the chimney breast and a pretty fountain was made out of local marble. In the evening, finely worked brass lanterns cast a magic tracery of light and shadow over the covered walkway that surrounds the courtyard.