Friday, March 23, 2012

Jardin Majorelle MARRAKECH, Morocco

We visited the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech a few days ago and it is a gorgeous tranquil space in this city that has unexpected surprises at every turn. Without our guide I do not think I would have ventured to this garden in the "new city", so it was especially delightful. The land was originally purchased by artist Jacques Majorell in 1924 and after 23years of work, he opened it to the public in 1947. After the artist's death, Yves Saint Laurent purchased the garden and today, it remains open to the public through his foundation. The garden is a contrast of colour, shape and form through the use of hundreds of cactus plants set against strong architectural elements. The buildings are designed in the "internationalist style" and painted in a cobalt blue which the artist had noticed in the zellige tile work around the city and patented as "Majorelle Blue". I was reminded of the work of Mexican architects Luis Barragan and Ricardo Legoretta - the strength & contrast of colour & architectural building elements set against the backdrop of sculptural form in plants is reminiscent of their work. This space is an oasis from the frenetic pace outside the walls and at the same time inspiring and invigorating.  

Within the garden there is a boutique selling beautiful locally made products and although Western prices, the quality and diversity from what you will find in the souks, make the products worth it. The garden became the artist's major and most well known artwork, with every possible surface painted in a palette which plays with contrast, lifting the spirit and offering unexpected surprise.

These cushions are all hand embroided and as I find it difficult to resist superb hand detail,
the one in the centre has made its way to our Italian home!