Marrakesh offers designers a wealth of ideas. Every sense is stimulated by the city. Colourful mosaics, delicate metal work, noisy scooters in the souks are just some of the elements make this a wonderful city for anyone looking for inspiration. These are some of the highlights specifically for interiors.
If there is a time portal on the planet, then I strongly believe it sits on the Jemaa el-Fnaa. This chaotic, cacophonous square dozes during the heat of the day, but as the sun sets it slowly rouses into life. Smoke from street food BBQs billows across the plaza while lanterns and bucket fires light up musicians, jugglers and traders. Bohemian tourists mingle with veiled women, Berber villagers, African traders and Arab families. Thousand year old traditions coalesce with the modern world. The square forms the heart of Marrakesh. For designers and decorators the city offers a wealth of inspiration. These are some of my highlights.
The Bahia Palace was designed to be the most beautiful of its time. What remains of this nineteenth century mansion is testament to this original ambition. The country’s finest craftsmen worked on the interior leaving behind intricate stuccowork, delicately painted woodwork and elaborate mosaics. Only part of the palace is now open to the public. The rooms flow from courtyard to courtyard, some are grand spaces for entertaining while others are more modest. They are all exquisitely decorated.
Musee de Marrakesh
Once a palace, then a girls’ school, today the Dar Menebhi Palace houses the Musee de Marakesh. A grand central courtyard – originally open, but now covered – provides a spectacular entrance to the museum. The palace brings together Andalusian architecture and Islamic decor. The exhibits reflect the region’s diverse history with examples of pottery, art, fine textiles and books.
Ali ben Youssef Madrasa
The footsteps of the students who once studied in this glorious building still echo around the halls. The school was built in the sixteenth century as a centre for learning both religious and legal texts. It was the largest of its kind in North Africa and, certainly, the most beautiful. Intricate stuccowork and densely carved woodwork covers the walls, ceilings and archways with Koranic inscriptions and abstract patterns.
Marrakesh is an exciting and vibrant city. The colour palette of deep creams, terracottas, ochres and earthy tones is brought to life with flashes of deep blues, rich reds and vibrant greens. The mixing of textures and layering of patterns makes for abundant interiors that reflects the city’s prosperity. It provides a wealth of ideas for designers.
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