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Yves Saint Laurent Museum, Marrakech, Morocco, Bymaro


Not far from Jardin Majorelle, the mythical emblem of Marrakech that Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought in 1980, stands the Yves Saint Laurent museum. A highly symbolic geographical location, with this museum adjoining this oasis that is so dear to the designer’s heart. The newly inaugurated building stands in an innovative design. 4,000 m² fulfilling more than the function of a mere museum; it is rather an extraordinary space, a tribute to Yves Saint Laurent's work. Here, in the permanent 400m² exhibition room, the work of the French designer is showcased by an original scenography signed by Christophe Martin. A temporary exhibition hall, an auditorium that can accommodate 140 people, a bookshop, a library, and a café with a terrace make up the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech.

The design of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum was entrusted to a French architectural firm, Studio KO, which has designed numerous residential and public projects in New York, London and Morocco. Between brutalism and the ochre color, the Yves Saint Laurent museum stands out by its modernity, which by its hue blends into the Marrakech landscape. Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier therefore conceived a modernist contrast for this museum, an allegory of Yves Saint Laurent's work. From the archives devoted to the fashion designer, the duo of architects created a transposition of the duality between straight and curved lines, the clean lines and cuts that grasp our attention when we contemplate Yves Saint Laurent's work. The museum transposes this contrast into an imposing building with ultra-graphic contours and a sharp geometry around cubes subtly adorned with brick lace. Once inside, another identity is revealed. Softer, more luminous, it evokes the silky, delicate lining of a garment.

The building is at the heart of a landscaped space designed by Madison Cox. The one to whom we owe the rebirth of the Jardin Majorelle conceived the 180m2 garden combining aridity and lushness. Representing the diversity of plants grown in Morocco, the garden of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech is planted with varieties from local nurseries, using plants that are endemic to Morocco or adapted to the dry weather of Marrakech. Prickly pears originating from Mexico, but introduced to Morocco since centuries, constitute a flora totally integrated into the environment and the pure lines of the museum. Florida creepers roam the patio, rushing down the blue-green bricks. A green irruption in the hot air of Marrakech. An echo of this harmony between the reminder of the neighboring desert and the vegetation, the café opens onto a large expanse of water, a geometric, angular and dreamlike fountain. Rectangular, an ode to tranquility, it is entirely composed of a zellige with a unique hue that gives water a sea-green color. This zellige, developed by the Aït Manos Workshops for the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech, uses shades of grey designed to give the water in the basin a shade identical to that found in nature, that of the bottom of a stream. The same shades continue on the adjacent wall from which water flows. All around this basin with a peaceful overflow, a jungle of plants continues this outburst of green. Lush, broad-leaved Monstera, Giant Strelitzia, philodendrons and papyrus. With this body of water, this palette of shapes, textures, and colors, the garden of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech blends Moroccan inspirations, cubist lines, and offers a showcase to the heritage of the fashion designer, a true lover of the ochre city.