Exploring the striking beauty of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech, Morocco
The Yves Saint Laurent Museum of Marrakech, a museum dedicated to fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech, Morocco, sits in the striking skyline located next door to the Majorelle Garden.
The building, designed by Paris-based Studio KO, is one of two museums built by the Pierre Bergé Foundation in a bid to celebrate the work of Yves Saint Laurent. Bergé, Saint Laurent’s business partner and former lover, made the $17 million terracotta museum his own major project. Sadly, Bergé passed away on September 8th, just a month before the opening: “It feels perfectly natural, 50 years later, to build a museum dedicated to his oeuvre, which was so inspired by this country,” he said prior to his death.
For Bergé, the decision to build in Morocco came without a seed of doubt. Both he and Saint Laurent fell in love with the country following their first in the 60s. “Marrakech taught me colour,” Yves Saint Laurent once said. “Before Marrakech, everything was black,” he added. following his first visit to the country in 1966, he bought a blue villa in the city and made it his prominent vacation home.
It was during that first visit that both Saint Laurent and Bergé discovered the Majorelle Garden: “We were seduced by this oasis where the colours of Matisse mingle with those of nature,” they said. Then, years later, the duo discovered that the garden was in financial difficulty and decided to purchase the place of memory and restore the location.
The garden itself, one of the most visited tourist sites in Morocco with 800,000 visitors recorded last year, is now the site of Yves Saint Laurent’s greatest Moroccan legacy. The museum, which was emphatically driven to completion by Bergé who visited once every month during the build, is a spectacular accomplishment in design. “Pierre had worked with Studio KO previously on a 20th-century villa in Tangier, so he already knew them well,’ says museum director Björn Dahlstrom.
“They are young and talented and I think they were absolutely the right choice for this project. Working with them was like working with family – very easy, they were dedicated. I think it would not have been so easy with a big-name architect.”
Located on Located on Rue Yves Saint Laurent, the street named after late designer himself, the museum is also dedicated to French orientalist painter Jacques Majorelle and Moroccan art. The building exterior is designed to evoke the “weft and warp of fabric” according to Studio KO’s Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier while the interior is meant to resemble “velvety, smooth and radiant” aspects of a couture jacket.
With a 150-seat auditorium, a library containing more than 6,000 books, a bookshop, a cafe, the building stretches 4,000 square metres and contains more than 4,000 pieces.