Marrakech Expressed

Marrakech Expressed

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By Aaron Britt
33 Rue Majorelle, a new concept store specializing in housewares and clothes in Marrakech, Morocco, is pushing the nation’s centuries-old design traditions firmly into the 21st century.

For all the noisy charm of Marrakech’s old city, with its twisting souks, grand La Mamounia hotel, and stately Koutoubia Mosque, one of the most popular tourist destinations remains the Majorelle Garden—once owned by, (and now the eternal resting place of) fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. Hordes flock to the magnificent walled oasis of lush trees and sculptural cacti to pay homage to an artist who found a place in haute couture for the motifs of his beloved Morocco.

Visitors hoping to bask a bit longer in YSL’s afterglow are well advised to nip just across the street to 33 Rue Majorelle, a concept shop that has certainly embraced something of Saint Laurent’s spirit. Founded in 2010, this thoroughly modern trio of spaces—a boutique specializing in housewares and clothing, a snack bar, and a salon offering furniture, art, and a place to repose—is dedicated to the union of contemporary design and Morocco’s famed craftsmanship.

Though the shop represents over 60 designers, mostly from Morocco, co-owner Yehia Abdelnour is quick to turn the focus to the local maâlems, or master craftsmen, who make the majority of what’s on view. Asked what inspired the shop’s tight edit of furniture, linens, apparel, and objets, he cites Morocco’s "abundance of skilled artisans, the vibrant and bold colors, the rich hues, the geometric ornaments, and the handcrafted textures." And at the risk of sounding unduly brash, he asserts, "There’s no other shop quite like this in Marrakech. In all Morocco."

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