Inspiration Hunting: Marrakesh, Morocco
The New Blush
Some of you may know that the names of the colorways of the second collection mainly are drawn from cities in Morocco. As it is my second home, and exists on the bucket list of many people, Morocco serves as an endless inspiration stream for me. Colors especially stick out in my mind. Though none of these colors hit the Pantone Color of the Year chord, they’re verging on trendy but in an accidental way. Take this warm clay color for example. It’s not flesh or blush, it’s not terracotta or paprika, but it’s own unique hue that belongs only in this place. Marrakesh. It’s always been the color of the year here.
I first went to Morocco in 2002 and fell in love with this vibrant city. It’s been a place of mystery and magic for me ever since. This bustling tourist hub has an interesting history but is also like a magnet, pulling me near, all the time. I’ve been back several times for textiles buying trips and with groups of Americans learning about Moroccan culture. I like to explain it as the city that never sleeps. We typically start with an exercise called the “Five Senses of Jama’a Al Fna”, which means that you’ll see, smell, taste, hear and (be) touch(ed) in the crowded plaza all within minutes of arriving!
It’s an experience unlike any other, and a real cultural wake up call.
Beyond this sensory overload and beyond the main gates of the old city, or Medina, you’ll find seductive colors in the architecture and wares for sale. You’ll find friendly people and many wonderful tastes. I welcome you to find out more as you read on.
Former capital of Morocco, Marrakesh is what some call The Jewel of the Desert — the imperial city of Marrakesh (the capital of Morocco from 1147-1269). A truly stunning display of architecture, commerce, craft, history and especially color, Marrakesh is a place to dream about. Known for the iconic light pink color that adorns the walls of the city, you’ll be salivating just looking at these images on our Pinterest board: Marrakesh.
The Marrakesh pink comes quite simply from a mixture of red earth and water from the Hazou plains nearby. As if a fully pink city wasn’t enough to be excited about, Marrakesh is also home to numerous ill-kept palaces which are open to the public as monuments, which you pay about $1.50 to go in and tour. Due to a general lack of funding or motivation from the government to recreate these interiors and preserve famous architecture (that isn’t generating tourism revenue like hotels are) you won’t experience the illusion that someone was brushing their hair in these bedrooms just minutes ago as you would while touring Versailles. One has to use their imagination to grasp the sense of the elegance that once prevailed in these fortress-like homes. Empty salons with intricate tile and massive columns lead your eye to plaster carved ceilings and wood screens to rooms on vacant living quarters on the second floor.
One thing to know about Marrakesh architecture: many homes have interior courtyards, pools and gardens that you cannot see from the outside. These slices of paradise are called Riyads or palaces. Many have been renovated in recent years by foreigners and Moroccans alike who are turning them into luxury vacation homes, hotels, and restaurants serving authentic Moroccan cuisine. Our favorite accommodations will be posted in an upcoming blog post as we ramp up for our Textile Buying Trip next month.
From Pink to Blue Hues:
One ‘must see’ is the Jardin Majorelle, originally created by French painter Jacques Majorelle and then later bought by the famous fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Berge. The garden is famous for the vivid blue building painted with the specifically coined Majorelle blue and the sea of both local and exotic wildlife.
A truly enchanting place, It is said to be where Saint Laurent designed his collections.
Ultimately more vibrant and vivid than any color that could have been made from natural earthy elements, this blue is shockingly optical and the Pantone Color of the Year can’t even hold a flame next to it.
Postcard from Morocco: “Wish You Were Here.”
Would you like to see all of this firsthand? Our tagline is “Bring the Worl Home” but I’m also so happy to be able to offer opportunities where we can “Bring You to the World.” Come with us! Inquire via email about out 5-day exclusive textile buying trip for interior designers and creative entrepreneurs. This trip to Marrakesh will give you chance to see the gorgeous architecture, source handmade rugs and other decór, meet other designers from all around the globe, visit the gardens, and most of all drink the pink!
Stay tuned: Next week we delve deeper into Marrakesh — an entryway reveal with our Gaar Marrakesh wallpaper.