T&W Senior Stylist Adam Powell (pictured above) travelled to Morocco and found snake charmers, souks and a peaceful retreat…
The moment you touch down in Marrakech there is an air of mysticism about the city. The air is thick, the smells are foreign and there is an energy unlike anywhere else on earth.
It’s fascinating to be in the foothills of the snowcapped Atlas Mountains whilst being on the edge of the Sahara desert at the same time. The market place or souk is where you really get a taste of what the city has to offer. It’s a bustling labyrinth of passageways full of artisans selling rugs, leather goods, glass tea cups and layer upon layer of trinkets and curiosities. You could quite literally spend hours wandering and immersing yourself in it all.
Just 2 hours west is Essaouira, an old port city with a peaceful anchorage and a more laid back vibe. It was love at first sight when London interior designer Emma Wilson walked through a tiny little front door barely 4ft high into what is now her pride and joy – Castles in the Sands.
Built in the 18th century and constructed in a traditional Moroccan style, Emma and her partner renovated the 4 storey apartment with a relaxed and retro aesthetic.
The whole interior has a neutral, raw palette with crisp white Tadelakt surfaces and sandstone columns supporting thuya wood ceilings. Tadelakt is a traditional application of a lime plaster rendering that can be applied internally or externally.
It’s this architectural feature that really steals the show, enveloping the whole interior of the building right through to the roof top terrace. You instantly notice a soft chalkiness with no hard lines and this curved aesthetic relates back to the choice of bespoke and designer 60’s retro furniture.
What makes this house super special is the fact that Emma has restored most of the 200 year old building’s iconic features. The ornate columns and stone arches worked back with the pop art pieces of furniture like the Vernon Panton S Chair gives the whole home a really timeless and classic style. Old mixes with new, which really is the essence of Morocco itself.
What I really love about the Moroccan culture is that most traditional homes/ riads all face inwards onto an open garden or courtyard. This was a design feature that adhered to the Islamic notion of privacy. It is also a unique way of regulating temperatures in these homes in the harsh Moroccan heat.
As you snake your way down the labyrinth of passageways in the world heritage-listed Medina, past artisan store holders and snake charmers, sewage and stray cats you would have no idea that a tiny, dirty little door in the side of the wall would open up into such a clean, crisp and serene space.
And for me, that’s the beauty and the magic of Morocco.