MARRAKECH – WHAT TO SEE ACCORDING TO JASPER CONRAN

Ten tips of what to see in Marrakech by designer Jasper Conran who has recently designed his own stunning Riad in the heart of the Medina…..’L’Hotel Marrakech’,  (Images and text courtesy of Elle Decor Italia Itineraries). I will add my own personal recommendation for lunch at Cafe des Epices, sunset at Cafe de France and cocktails at La Mamounia…..next trip scheduled for early March 2018!

1. A place to have breakfast:

After strolling in the heart of the Medina among the numerous bazaars, and having visited the Souk (typical market in the central square), enchanted by the myriad of colors and perfumes, stop at the Café des Epices, the perfect place to enjoy a mint tea on a large multicolored rooftoop.

2. A fascinating place:

The Koranic school Medersa Ben Youssef, dating back to the 14th century. It is the best place to observe the typical decorations in stucco and inlaid cedar, combined with zellij tiling, typical colorful Moroccan mosaic tiles.

3. Somewhere to enjoy the sunset:

Nothing better than the main square, perhaps drinking a freshly squeezed juice or spice tea at one of the local street food stalls.

4. An architectural work to admire:

The Bahia Palace, a complex dating back to the 19th century, covers over 8 hectares of land and includes the gardens and areas reserved for the Sultan’s harem.
Among the decorations made by local artisans, you can stop for a quick drink at the Cozy Bar. From there, you can spot the nests of the storks on the ancient city walls.

5. A place to relax:

A stone’s throw from the Saadian Tombs, the SPA Les Bains de Marrakech is the perfect place for those who have never experienced the unique experience of Turkish baths.

6. A special place:

The Jardin Majorelle, acquired by the couple Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé in 1980, which immediately underwent restoration work. Inside them, there is an unmissable Berber museum.

7. Where to go for lunch:

Outside the city, the rural atmosphere lends itself to a bath and a relaxing lunch among the rose gardens, olive trees and orchards of the Beldi Country Club (also known as Jnane Tamsna).

8. An afternoon break:

An ice cream at the famous and historic Mamounia hotel is a must. Here, hundreds of colorful flowers and 18th century cider orchards create a unique atmosphere.

9. A restaurant for dinner:

In the heart of the main Jamaa el Fna square, from booth number 47 to 98, to experience all the good local food. Do not miss the Fish & Chips, the stew and hibiscus tea.

10. The following day. A corner from which to admire the sunrise:

The sky. Ciel D’Afrique balloon offers an exceptional view of the High Atlas Mountains and the Imperial City of Marrakech. It is an experience to be tried.

 

YSL MUSEUM – MARRAKECH

Yves Saint Laurent had many muses, but only one Marrakesh, the city where he discovered light and color, draping and caftans. There, in a series of homes — of which his final and most notable was the opulent Villa Oasis — Saint Laurent sketched some of his best designs (and hosted some of his wildest parties).

This October, some 50 years after the designer’s first visit to Morocco, a state-of-the-art fashion museum honoring his oeuvre will open just steps from the Jardin Marjorelle, the villa’s botanical escape-cum-tourist attraction. The new, 43,000-square-foot building, designed by the Paris-based firm Studio KO, will house thousands of articles of clothing and haute couture accessories, all carefully selected by Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent’s partner in business and in life. Expect to see such iconic pieces as Le Smoking and the safari jacket, but not an exhaustive retrospective. (A sister museum, Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, opening in YSL’s former atelier on 5 Avenue Marceau a few weeks prior, will fill that role.)

“Here, we wanted to explore the spectacular and fantasy side of the work,” says Madison Cox, vp of the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent and director of the Jardin Marjorelle. Confections like a scarlet faille couture cape embroidered with purple and hot-pink bougainvillea and an African-inspired beaded minidress from the 1967 Bambara haute-couture collection will hang in the permanent exhibition hall. Elsewhere, original scenography incorporating “floating voices, quotes, images and film snippets” by the French architect and set designer Christophe Martin will add a sense of “magic,” says the museum director Bjorn Dahlstrom.

No less expressive is the building itself, with both modern and traditional Moroccan influences (locally-sourced terrazzo, red brick latticework, bush hammered concrete) and a curved facade that mimics the folds of fabric. “We designed it like a sculpture; a game of volumes and heights,” Studio KO co-founder Olivier Marty says of the space, which will feature a bookshop, research library, auditorium and a cafe serving French-leaning fare with a terrace overlooking a reflection pool. Inside, light streams through stained-glass windows inspired by Saint Laurent’s love for Henri Matisse — blues and greens on one side of the entrance hall, reds and tangerines on the other. “He’s Marrakesh and Paris. He’s color and black, masculine and feminine, the line and arabesque,” says Dahlstrom. “Together, it’s essential YSL.”

Article courtesy of New York Times Style Magazine 

THE COLOUR PINK (not just for girls)

It’s no secret that pink is one of my favourite colours and when I’m looking through new stock to add to our website, my eye will always be drawn to any rugs with a background of blush pink or pops of a brighter pink tint.  There’s an ongoing trend for blush pink in both interiors and the fashion world and if you’re interested in colour psychology, pink is said to have a calming effect when used in interiors, inspiring feelings of security and safety.   It’s a complete coincidence that my favourite city, Marrakech, is known as the ‘pink city’.  The pigments in the earth in the area create a beautiful salmon pink coloured plaster which decorates the exterior of the majority of the buildings.

Pink is a tint made from a combination of red and white.  Adding a touch of black darkens the tint, and adding a small amount of another colour will give an undertone of that colour to the pink tint.  The name ‘pink’ may date back to the 17th century and may be derived from the Dutch flower ‘pinken’.  In almost every culture there is a stereotypical view that pink is for girls and blue for boys, but it wasn’t until the 1950’s that pink was strongly associated with femininity.  The symbolism of the colour could argue that the opposite is true, that pink is derived from red which is active, hence masculine.  In the 18th century it was considered perfectly masculine for a man to wear a pink silk suit.  Pink can be a very contradictory colour with associations to both feminine and masculine, tenderness and shallowness.

Below is a beautifully serene and calming bedroom at the wonderful El Fenn riad in Marrakech.  Don’t forget to check out the pink tints in our new collection of Boucherouite rugs now available in our online shop.

 

 

MARRAKECH SHOWROOM – NEW LOOK!

Our Marrakech showroom (Bazar du Sud) has recently undergone a transformation, and is looking particularly stunning at the moment!  Based in a beautiful old Riad in the Medina, the whitewashed walls, potted palms and traditional Zellige tiled floor provide the perfect backdrop to our vast collection of both vintage and modern Berber rugs and kilims.  A low cream sofa provides a welcome resting place…….with so much choice, you are sure to need a comfy seat (and plenty of mint tea!) for contemplation!  If you would like to arrange a showroom visit, please email us at info@marbleandmint.co.uk, we will be happy to organise this for you.

MARRAKECH – THE HUB OF THE MOROCCAN RUG TRADE

We’re just back from our sourcing trip to Morocco, and remain convinced that Marrakech is still the best place to source Moroccan rugs.  The weather was unseasonably hot and humid, with just a little rain on one morning which very quickly disappeared.  Staying in an unfamiliar part of the Medina, it was an adventure as always to find our way to familiar places, but souk wandering is a must when you’re here!

We’ve seen some beautiful new Beni Ouarain productions, in a range of new colours and designs (including blue and pink!) all up on our website soon…..and have some more stunning Flatweaves and Boucherouite already on their way over to the UK.  Our partner/supplier has such a vast inventory of both old and new rugs, all catalogued and photographed that we are sure that if we can’t find what you’re looking for here in Marrakech, it can’t be found!  We’ll be adding a collection of vintage Beni Mguild rugs to our website soon, reversible pieces where the design is clearly visible on the back of the carpet.

In the meantime check out our collection of Petit Beni Ouarain, some beautifully soft small rugs, made from the finest quality wool, all originally made as samples.  These are also located in Marrakech, and we’ll be uploading additional photos of these over the next few days.

SOURCING IN MARRAKECH

We will be back in Marrakech at the end of this month, spending time in the Souk des Tapis, living and breathing rugs for a while!  If you know what you’re looking for, Marrakech is still a great place to source both vintage and contemporary Moroccan rugs.  We are lucky enough to work in hand in hand with a very well established family business there who have a knowledge of the history of their rugs built up over generations of trading.   We don’t claim to know absolutely everything about Moroccan rugs, it’s a continual learning curve for us, but what we don’t know they can certainly tell us!  They have a very large stock available on the ground in Marrakech, which they source direct from the weavers.  If there is anything special you are looking for, a particular size or style of rug, please let us know, we will always do our best to find your perfect rug.  Our special relationship with our supplier means they will always be on the lookout for our clients’ requirements.   We are also regularly updated and have first dibs on any new and interesting rugs in their collection.  Their excellent weavers in the Atlas mountains also supply our beautiful custom made Beni Ouarain rugs.  Please get in touch if you would like any more information on any of our stock either in the UK or Marrakech.  We would love to hear from you!  info@marbleandmint.co.uk

MOROCCAN RUGS AT SOURCE

We have a fantastic range of colourful vintage Boucherouite rugs and flat weaves available to us at source in Marrakech, the image shows just a few!  It’s not possible to stock them all, but they are all photographed and catalogued with dimensions and prices, so if there is something special you are looking for, either in terms of colour or size, please let us know.  We work with a long established family of carpet sellers in Marrakech who are extremely helpful and knowledgeable, and are always more than happy to help us to find the perfect piece for you!  Shipping with FedEx is reasonably priced and takes as little as 3 working days.  info@marbleandmint.co.uk