Morocco has become a personal destination of rejuvenation for me in terms of color, texture, design, fragrance and cuisine.
From the century-old medinas in Fes and Marrakech—touching every possible sense—to the peaceful serenity of the desert, which calms the soul, I find great inspiration which I try to incorporate into all of my designs. Eclectic interiors and rooms that tell a story are a few Goddard Design Group trademarks. Below are two aspects that speak strongly to me.
From my first encounters in Morocco, I was truly inspired by the vibrant color that shapes the landscape of this country. Moroccan life is filled with brilliant shades of blue, red, orange, pink, yellow, and green, paired with natural clay-hued architecture that resonates with the forever-present mountain ranges across the country. Yves St. Laurent captured this vibrancy when he and Pierre Berge renovated Villa Oasis in 1980. The saturation of color that St.Laurent used in each of the rooms (as seen below) is expressed through paint, fabric, and tile. Some rooms use color very dramatically to highlight the mixture of Moroccan and French culture, while others use subtle shades to create an area of tranquility and mental inspiration. Design in the United States has veered to a neutral palette, so break free of the trend and embrace color in your home and style!
(IMAGE via Elle Decor, August 2018)
As seen at Villa Oasis, texture plays a huge role in Moroccan design. Inspiration can be found in the Berber rug stores, the intricate ceiling detail of riads, lanterns which have a uniquely northern African/Oriental style, and the ever-present use of tile. All of these elements blend perfectly and illustrate the landscape of the country to include the olive and fig trees, green oasis valleys, and rustic mountain ranges. The layering of textures like these inspires the mixing of materials and fabrics for the home.
FAVORITE MOROCCAN HONEY
Morocco is a unique destination that brings together so many elements that heighten one’s senses. From architecture and color to food and wine, everything is experienced to the ultimate degree. Below are a few of my favorite places. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I have during my last two trips!
- Riad Fes: A Relais & Chateaux riad located in the heart of old Fes, combining traditional Moroccan architecture with baroque style. Sunset from the rooftop bar is a must! Riad Fes
- Hotel Sahrai: A five-star contemporary boutique hotel designed by architect and designer Christophe Pillet with spectacular views of the medina. Hotel Sahari
- Nur: Fabulous restaurant serving market fresh contemporary cuisine featuring a daily tasting menu which reflects seasonal souk offerings. Nur
- Amaraz: Sophisticated Moroccan cuisine with views of the old city walls, housed in the contemporary Hotel Sahrai. Amaraz
- Art D’Argile: Part shop, part gallery, part workshop, Art d’Argile is a terrific place for anyone interested in watching artisans at work. The family-owned establishment has been creating exquisite pieces for four generations. See how vases, bowls, tiles, and more are made, and appreciate the details that go into hand-painting the pieces. Art d’Argile, N 41 Hay Lalla Yacout rue N3 ain nokbi, Fes +212 6623 48754
Chris notes that Moroccan design can also be beautifully minimal. “My favorite kasbah Dar Ahlam or ‘house of dreams’ is the perfect place to stay on your journey to Marrakech from the Sahara.
- Dar Ahlam: This very intimate boutique hotel is deep in the Skoura Oasis. The 19th century Kasbah has been renovated in a unique decor that blends Moroccan, Italian, and Balinese influences. It features sprawling gardens, a large pool, and an outstanding chef. Dar Ahlam
Chris hits the souk or marketplace in Marrakech. He suggests having a guide to help distinguish between authentic finds and reproductions.
- La Mamounia: Rated the #1 Hotel in the World 2018, La Mamounia is a legendary palace that is part of the fabric of Marrakech. Its history, colors, and traditions tell a story unlike no other. From the elegantly-appointed lobby, beautiful gardens and plush guest rooms, this hotel is a gem not to be missed. La Mamounia
- Riad L’Orangeraie:Once you enter the riad, you will discover a tranquil place with stylish appointment of furniture, art, and lights. The restaurant features a blend of Moroccan and French cuisine. Dining is al fresco by the pool, located in the center of the riad. Great food in a magical setting. The Restaurant at Riad L’Orangeraie
- The Grand Cafe de la Poste: This stylish European café/restaurant in the new quarter of Gueliz has been popular in Marrakech since the 1920’s. Al fresco dining with a menu featuring refreshing, light meals. Try the Grand Marnier Souffle! Grand Cafe de la poste
- La Table at Royal Mansour: Located in Marrakech’s most elite accommodation, La Table’s vibrant dining experience brings a real flavor of the Mediterranean to Marrakech. La Table’s superb loggia is beautifully appointed and adorned with an open-air restaurant. The menu is both varied and refreshingly simple, using local seasonal products. La Table at Royal Mansour
- Aya’s Marrakech: This small boutique offers custom kaftans, jewelry and artisan pieces. Aya’s has a skilled team which hand-embroiders on site, so you are able to pick the color and design of your custom piece. A visit to her shop is by appointment, so call in advance. Aya’s Marrakech
- Marrakshi Life: This atelier was launched in 2013, by the New York fashion photographer, Randall Bachner. Life embraces key style elements from the traditional Moroccan wardrobe and, with the help of an in-house team of local artisans, transforms this history into original, contemporary, and wearable design pieces. Check it out if you have time! Marrakshi Life
- Galerie Talsint: I have visited this rug store on both my trips and am continually amazed at the quality of rugs that they offer. They share the history and culture of each rug, so you are assured that you are making an investment purchase. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Souk: The best immersion into Marrakech shopping is to visit the souk. By walking and seeing each street turn from rug stores to clothing shops to food markets is thrilling because you never know what the next curve in the road might become. Deals are easy to make with most vendors, so never settle on the offering price.
- Kasbah Tamadot: This boutique hotel is Sir Richard Branson’s magical retreat in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. Perched at the top of a valley, you have wonderful views of Mount Toubkal and traditional Berber villages that dot around the region. This is the perfect retreat to escape the hustle and bustle of Marrakech. Kasbah Tamadot