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Ben Youssef Madrasa Marrakech

The Ben Youssef Madrasa was the largest Islamic theological college in Morocco.  It was founded in the 14th century by the Marinid Sultan Abu al-Hassan and further developed by Sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib in the 16th century in order to rival the madrasas of Fez.

It’s a wonderful example of Moorish architecture, with its carved Atlas cedar windows and wooden lattice screen balconies, five colour zellij tiling, stucco designs on the walls and a marble mihrab, which indicated the direction of Mecca.

The main courtyard (below) is breathtakingly ornate and features a large filled basin of shallow water in the centre.  The college is no longer in use but there were once students residing in the 132 dorm rooms arranged around the courtyard.  In stark contrast to the inscriptions and patterned stucco and colourful tiling on the exterior walls the dorm rooms are small and spartan (final photograph).

Ben Youssef Madrasa

Ben Youssef Madrasa
plasterwork-and-tiling-Ben-Youssef-Maud-interiors

Plasterwork-Ben-Youssef-Maud-interiors

Floor-tiles-Ben-Youssef-Maud-interiors

Upstairs-ben-youssef-maud-interiors

Ben Youssef Madrasa

My advice is to visit the Ben Youssef Madrasa when it opens at 8am before it gets too busy and before the sun becomes too bright to take photos of the courtyard.  Click here for directions.

If you visit the Madrasa I also recommend that you visit the Maison de la Photographie and see the wonderful collection of old photos of Morocco as it is nearby.  Click here for directions.

For other suggestions on what to see and do in Marrakech click on Morocco on the right hand side of this blog.

Moroccan Wedding Blankets

Vintage Moroccan wedding blankets, also known as handira or tamizart, have been popular with interior designers and stylists for some time.  The neutral colour palette of the blankets makes them an extremely versatile addition to a bedroom or sitting room.  They add elegance, texture, pattern, glamour and sparkle and can be used in a variety of ways: as a coverlet or footer on a bed, over the back of a sofa or a chair, as a stylish headboard, a casual throw or as a wall hanging.  Have a look at the Pinterest board below for some ideas on how you can use wedding blankets in your home.  Scroll down the Pinterest board with your mouse to see all the images.

Hand Woven By The Mother Of The Bride For Her Wedding Day

There are different types wedding blanket in Morocco.  The cream and white variety comes from the mid Atlas mountains where they are hand-woven by the mother of the bride and her female relatives in preparation for her wedding day. They are woven from local wool and cotton in a natural palette of cream and white and can take several weeks or months to complete.  Each piece is unique and reflects the skill and creativity of the weaver.  Many blankets feature bands of kilim weaving, sometimes concealed by cotton fringing on the front but visible on the back.  These coloured kilim bands often contain talismanic symbols conveying the hopes of the bride’s mother for her future prosperity, fertility and happiness.

 

Each sequin is sewn on by hand.  The sequins form small clusters or rows or both and are said to ward off the evil eye.  It’s also possible that their similarity to small coins is intended to symbolise future wealth.  They also reflect the light whether it’s the light of the fire in the evening or daylight sun.

 

The blankets are worn like capes either over the head or around the shoulders and tied at the neck.  They are traditionally worn by the bride on her journey to her husband’s home.  After the marriage they are used as bed or wall coverings to decorate the marital home.

Our stock of vintage Moroccan wedding blankets is constantly changing but you can see a selection below.

Moroccan wedding blankets

Photos: Kristy Noble and Dave Bullivant

You can see our full range of vintage Moroccan wedding blankets here and our range of cushions from vintage Moroccan wedding blankets here.  We think that as well as adding glamour to your home they would make a wonderful wedding present.

Le Jardin Secret Marrakech

Marrakech’s Secret Garden

Tucked away behind 30 foot walls on Rue Mouassine in the Medina is Le Jardin Secret, Marrakech’s Secret Garden.  It’s a place to escape the hustle and bustle of the medina and take refuge in the tranquil courtyard gardens of one of Marrakech’s largest and oldest riads.

Le Jardin Secret

The Story Behind Le Jardin Secret

There is evidence of a palace on the site of Le Jardin Secret dating back to the reign of Sultan Moulay ‘Abd-Allah al-Galib in the sixteenth century, however what you can see today is the reconstruction of a riad, which was built at the beginning of the nineteenth century by the leader of the Haha tribe, Kaid al-Hajj Ab-Allah U-Bihi.  The kaid subsequently fell out of favour with the Sultan and was poisoned by him.  The last inhabitant of the riad was watchmaker and Chamberlain to the Sultan, Mohammed Loukrissi.  Loukrissi lived in the palatial compound with his three wives and children until his death in 1934.  After his death ownership of the riad was divided up amongst his descendants and it fell into disrepair.

The riad was rediscovered by Lauro Milan, the owner of Cafe Arabe, which stands opposite Le Jardin Secret, and his business partner, Sante Giovanni Albonetti.  They were curious about what lay behind the imposing walls and discovered a shanty town of dwellings on the site of a nineteenth century palace.  After lengthy negotiations with the 130 plus inheritors they purchased the site initially intending to build a hotel but once the shacks were removed and it became clear that this was a site of historical interest the decision was made to restore the riad and the gardens and create a visitor attraction.

The Riad Gardens

Award winning gardener, Tom Stuart Smith, was responsible for the garden design and the planting in the two courtyard gardens.  Both gardens adhere to the original nineteenth century layout but are very different from each other.  The larger of the two, with its strict geometric structure and planting, remains faithful to the Islamic original whilst the smaller, Exotic garden, is a visual mix of sculptural and textural planting and bold bursts of colour using  drought resistant plants which would not have been available in Morocco in the nineteenth century.

The Islamic Garden

The layout of the Islamic garden follows a pattern called the Chahar bagh, meaning fourfold garden.  The earliest example of this style of garden dates back to 500BC in Pasargadae in Iran where the four quarters of the garden were divided by irrigation channels.  Initially this layout was developed to facilitate irrigation however with the rise of Islam in the 7th century this division of the garden into four sections came symbolically to represent the description of paradise in the Koran.

There are four essential elements to an Islamic garden: water for irrigation, which is viewed as a blessing from heaven, shade, the chahar bagh and enclosure; a space separated from the outside, a private paradise.

Le Jardin Secret

Staying true to the traditional design, the most important paths are tiled with terracotta bejmat tiles in a greenish turquoise glaze.  The herringbone pattern and variations of green in the tiles create the illusion of running water.

le jardin secret

In an Islamic garden the planting as well as the garden layout follows a strict format.  The most important trees are the fig, the olive, the date palm and the pomegranate, all of which have religious significance. Tom Stuart Smith has added sweet orange, lemon and argan trees to the mix and planted rosemary, grasses, lavender,  jasmine, tuberose, damask rose, musk rose, Turkish tea sage and grape-vine beneath the trees to create a meadow effect.

Le Jardin Secret

The pavilions surrounding the Islamic garden have been reconstructed using 19th century techniques.  The larger of the two pavilions the Oud el Ward(above), named after one of Loukrissis’ wives features a room with a dome or qubba, which was designed for Loukrissi to receive guests and a 17m tower.  The tower, which is the height of many of the mosque minarets, and the qubba both indicate Loukrissi’s status as does the private hammam which is to the side of the garden.  If you visit make sure to visit the tower as the views from it extend over the city to the Atlas mountains.

Le Jardin Secret

The restored riads feature hand sculpted plasterwork, traditional tadelakt walls and ornate painted wooden ceilings and doors.

Le Jardin Secret

Originally water for the gardens would have come from the Atlas mountains to Marrakech via an underground system of tunnels known as khettaras developed by the Almoravids in the eleventh century.  The water flowed from the mountains to huge tanks in the Agdal and Menara gardens and from there via gravity to the mosques, public water fountains and hammams in the city.  The khettara system hasn’t been in use since the 1950s so an existing well was redug in one corner of the garden and supplies the water for both gardens. The rills and paths and irrigation channels are set above the planted level of the garden so that water can spill over and irrigate the gardens.

Le Jardin Secret

Decorative benches are placed by the fountains so that you can sit, listen to the trickle of water and the birdsong and enjoy the serenity and calm of this elegant garden.

The Exotic Garden

Walk into the Le Jardin Secret from Rue Mouassine and your senses are immediately awakened by the trickle of water along irrigation channels and overspilling from fountains, the modern Moroccan architecture, the birdsong and the splashes of colour, and textural and sculptural designs of the planting in the Exotic garden.  The Exotic garden is the smaller of the two gardens and contains plants from Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, Bolivia, Madagascar, the Canary Islands,  Australia and Mediterranean countries.  The plants are all from semi-arid climates like Morocco and are drought resistant to minimize the need for water.

Le Jardin Secret

Le Jardin Secret

The new pavilion was built on the foundations of an earlier structure but there was no evidence of the riad so the design is modern.  This pavilion provides the concealed entrance to the Islamic garden so you walk from a modern garden with dramatic shapes, texture and pops of colour through to an elegant, structured garden in calming shades of green accompanied by the calming sound of running water.

Le Jardin Secret

A spiky Ceiba tree from South America stands out against the slate grey backdrop of the modern reception building.

Le Jardin Secret

Le Jardin Secret

Le Jardin Secret provides insight into the design, beauty and symbolism of an Islamic garden, the lives of the wealthy in Marrakech in the nineteenth century and the development of Marrakech as a city. It delights with its contrasting courtyard gardens, juxtaposing traditional and modern planting schemes and old and new architecture. If you are planning to visit my advice is to get there early in the day so that you can appreciate the sights before the crowds arrive.

 

How To Find Le Jardin Secret

It can be difficult to navigate the labyrinth of alleys in the medina however, Le Jardin Secret is situated in Rue Mouassine, which is one of the larger thoroughfares.  It is not far from the Mouassine mosque and is opposite the Cafe Arabe so if you ask in the medina for either of those two landmarks you should find it.  I recommend visiting early in the morning and taking a guided tour.   If you are interested in gardens and gardening I also recommend Tom Stuart-Smith’s fascinating guide, which I have referred to for this post.

Midcentury Modern Show London Sunday 19th March

Giveaway – A Pair Of Tickets To The Midcentury Modern Show, Dulwich College, London, Sunday 19th March

Midcentury Modern Show

 

“This show could cause design lovers a cardiac arrest.” Grand Designs

 

About The Show

We are excited to be exhibiting again at the Midcentury Modern Show in Dulwich College, London, on Sunday 19th March.  The show is one of our favourites.  It’s a mix of the best in 20th century design classics and modern collectables.  If you love Scandinavian and American modernism, European Bauhaus, British, French and German industrial design then this is the venue for you.  There are 85 dealers at this design destination so you can source the latest furniture, textiles, ceramics and gifts and find yourself an original mid century piece.

We will be exhibiting our range of contemporary and vintage handcrafted textiles and baskets in stand 8 in the Upper Gallery and look forward to meeting you there.

Giveaway

We are giving away a pair of tickets to the show on a first come first served basis.  All you have to do is email us at: info@maudinteriors.com with the name and email address of the two people you would like to attend the show.  Please note there is no cash substitute for this giveaway.

 

‘Midcentury Modern is a dangerous show. All the must-see vintage furniture, lighting and accessories dealers in one place makes for serious temptation. Lucy and Petra organise the shows with their idiosyncratic verve and energy and in atmospheric locations so the events feel like an occasion / day out and not just a shopping experience.’ Jenny Dalton. Freelance. How To Spend It. Financial Times.

 

Click here for more information on the Midcentury Modern shows.

Please note tickets have now been allocated.

 

 

 

Josef Frank Exhibition: Patterns Furniture Painting

 

Josef Frank, architect, designer and artist (1885-1967)

josef frank exhibition

The Fashion and Textile museum in London is currently holding the first UK exhibition of the work of Josef Frank (1885 – 1967), who is considered to be one of Sweden’s most influential designers.  Bold, vibrant, botanical prints characterise the work of the architect, designer and artist and his colourful take on modernism is on trend today. The above room set, from the Josef Frank exhibition with its botanical prints and greenery, wouldn’t be out of place in a contemporary interiors magazine.

 

Frank was born in Austria and studied architecture in Vienna.  He founded his own practice after the First World War and established Haus & Garten, a design and furnishings company. He left Austria in 1933 to escape Nazi discrimination and moved to Sweden.  Unable to find work as an architect he was approached by Estrid Ericson, the founder of the internationally renowned interior design company, Svenskt Tenn, who admired his designs and asked him to work for the company. This was the start of a working relationship, which lasted 30 years.

 

Frank believed that a home should be a comfortable, cosy place to live and his designs injected a pop of colour into the Swedish modernist movement. The uplifting effect of the vibrant colours and botanical designs bursting with insects and birds was in stark contrast with the mood and turmoil of the interwar and Second World War.

The exhibition features over 120 of Frank’s designs and include a large selection of his watercolours.  These are some of my favourites:

 

josef frank exhibition

One of Frank’s earliest designs, Fruhling 1925 – 30, a delicate block print with deep red tree trunks and blue leaves.

 

IMG_9844

An illustration for Frank’s design,Window (1943-45), depicting common plants.

josef frank exhibition

My favourite, Rox and Fix (1943 – 45), featuring hills inspired by Chinese ink paintings and large fig trees.

josef frank exhibition

One of Frank’s vibrant designs,  Mirakel (1925-30).

Josef Frank’s designs are still in production at Svenskt Tenn. You can see more of his work here.

The Josef Frank exhibition is at the Fashion and Textile museum in London until 7th May 2017.

Seeking Africa Exhibition

Seeking Africa: Design/Art Across A Continent Exhibition

Seeking Africa: Design/Art Across A Continent

 

The Seeking Africa exhibition, at Themes and Variations on Westbourne Grove in London, is one of the first exhibitions in the UK to focus on the variety of contemporary design from Africa.  The exhibition has been cleverly curated to give a glimpse of what is happening in different countries via chosen artists.  Themes range from pollution and the effects on the environment, reflected in photography and furniture from recycled oil drums, to story telling through basket weaving.

 

The basket weaving drew my attention as two of the baskets are from a series of three Biography Baskets.  These Biography baskets are part of the Song of the Weaver project, created by three generations of weavers: grandmother, daughter and granddaughter from one family who work for social enterprise, Gone Rural, in Swaziland. Each of the baskets in the series captures the memories of the lives of  the weaver through grasses and objects found on their homesteads.

 

Seeking Africa Exhibition

Seeking Africa Exhibition

The basket above is by Siphiwe Mngometulu, the daughter of the trio, who is the head of her homestead.  Siphiwe left school after falling pregnant and began weaving to support her child.  Together Siphiwe and her husband had six more children building a life together at his homestead.  Then one day her husband sold all their cattle and left.  He did not return for four years.

Siphiwe had to leave her husband’s family homestead but with her income from Gone Rural she was able to start her life again, building a new house and buying animals  but she has yet to regain her herd of cattle.  This is her ultimate dream.  Her husband now visits a few times a year.   Her basket is a visual memoir of her life.  Woven from grasses and collected objects, there are memories embedded in every strand of the basket.  Like the bone, which signifies that Siphiwe is the backbone of her family.  The goat skull and metal disc are reminders of her husband as Siphiwe always slays a goat when he returns home and the disc symbolises her husband’s return by bicycle.  The numerous layers of grasses symbolise the years of Siphiwe’s life (some fertile and some dry).

 

Seeking Africa Exhibition

The basket above is by Bonakele Ngwenya, Siphiwe’s first-born daughter.  Like her mother she left school at 16 when she became pregnant.  She was sad to have to leave school but happy to have a daughter.  Bonakele learnt how to weave from her mother and joined Gone Rural to support her child.  Her basket is very different in style from her mother’s.   The use of pink symbolises her love for her daughter and the metal loops represent her husband’s unstable employment.  The depressed base is her sadness at having to leave school and the zig zag patterns on the top of the basket allude to the style of basket she normally weaves for Gone Rural and her prayer for more work in the future.

seeking africa exhibition

seeking africa exhibition

Another Gone Rural basket, from a different collection, woven from recycled fabric and plastic covered grasses and copper wire.

 

seeking

 

seeking africa exhibition

Also part of the Seeking Africa exhibition were two striking baskets by Beauty Ngxongo from Zululand.  Functional, beautiful and decorative, Zulu baskets are some of the most collectable in the world.  The ones above are tightly woven from ilala palm, so tightly woven that the they are watertight.  I particularly like the earthy mix of colours and striking patterns in these baskets.

 

The Seeking Africa exhibition runs until 16th December but hurry if you want to see everything as the exhibits are for sale and are selling fast. Learn more at Themes and Variations, 231 Westbourne Grove, London.

 

The background information on the Biography Baskets is from Gone Rural.  Find out more about social enterprise Gone Rural here and click here to see our selection of baskets from Gone Rural.

How To Create A Cosy Home This Christmas

Tips On Creating A Cosy Home

I’m typing this post wrapped in one of our cosy waffle throws to block out the blast of cold air coming through ancient wooden French doors and cursing myself for not ordering replacement wooden doors and windows earlier in the year.

As a sun-loving Leo I struggle with the cold, dark,winter months so I like to create a cosy home where I can hibernate until the mild weather arrives.  For me the key essentials are warmth, lighting, colour and wintry scents.  Take a look at the Pinterest visuals above for ideas.  To see the full board use the scroll bar on the right hand side.

Warmth

  •  A roaring wood fire or burner helps create a cosy feel but older homes can still be draughty so the trick is to layer the textiles in your home.  Add wool blankets and throws to sofas so  you can curl up under them.  Pile on the cushions so you sink into them
  • If you have wooden, tiled or laminate flooring, add some deep pile rugs and runners for warmth and softness underfoot
  • Layer your bedding by adding coverlets, blankets and kantha throws for extra warmth and texture.  Increase the number of pillows too for extra comfort.

Lighting

  •  When it’s dark outside add extra table lights inside to create pools of light
  • Add clusters of candles to create a warm glow.  Use metallic candle holders in brass, copper and silver to reflect the light
  • String fairy lights over mirrors and mantlepieces, loop them along walls or cascade them down windows to create a magical Christmassy feel.

Colour

  • Introduce some warmer colours in the form of throws, cushions, a tablecloth or rug.  Browns, russets, pinks, reds, oranges and some yellows will all create a warmer feel.

Scent

  • Scent your home with woody, spicy smells.  I like Diptyque’s Cannelle and Amber candles
  • I add to this with large bunches of eucalyptus which I use in pots, on the mantelpiece, in wreaths, on my dining table and for gift wrapping (I prefer natural decorations).
  • Finally, there’s nothing like a real pine Christmas tree to create a wonderful woody aroma.

Monochrome Interior Inspiration

Monochrome Interiors And How To Create Them

 

Scandi or monochrome interiors can be difficult to pull off as they can look stark, cold and clinical.  Two Scandinavian designers who nail this look are Danish fashion, interior designer and artist, Marlene Birger and Swedish stylist, make-up artist and founder of boutique, Miloii, Karolina Vertus.  You can see shots from their properties in our Pinterest board above (use the scroll bar on the right hand side to see all the photos).

There are five key elements to monochrome interiors:

1.Pattern

Add patterned rugs, blankets, cushions and throws to break up expanses of one colour.   Stick to a restricted colour palette and don’t be afraid to mix stripes, zig zags, florals and tribal motifs.

2.Global textiles

Thick Beni Ourain rugs, hand-woven runners, striped and patterned blankets, sequinned wedding blankets, throws and piles of assorted cushions all add layers, texture, pattern and warmth.

3.Metallics

Sequinned Moroccan wedding blankets, lassi cups, silver sculptures, candlesticks, contemporary metallic lights, tea light holders, inlaid furniture and metallic tiles all reflect the light and add sparkle.

4.Natural materials

Rustic or global wooden furniture, tribal carvings and wicker baskets all add texture.  I would also add plants to the mix.

5.Artwork

Create a visual feast with bold contemporary artwork or mix and match styles on a gallery wall.

 

Get The Look

monochrome interiorsMonochrome interiors

  1.  Add pattern and texture with our hand-woven Indian Zig Zag runner in black and white, £380
  2. A bold striped blanket, perfect on the bed or thrown over a sofa, Moroccan Pom Pom Blanket Natural Black £183
  3. Kilim Pouf Ayoub, a Beni Ourain pouf, will provide extra seating, pattern and texture to a room, £110
  4. A sophisticated basket with layers of ribbing will add texture, Open Ribbed Basket Black Gogo Christina, £112, shown here on our natural and white Indian Zig Zag runner, £380
  5. A striped blanket will add warmth and pattern, Moroccan Pom Pom Blanket Black Natural, £183
  6. Add a decorative touch with one of our storage baskets, Bonakele Black, £180
  7. These Black and Natural baskets Bonakele, available in three sizes, £34 – £80, add pattern and texture
  8. A traditional Beni Ourain carpet adds pattern, texture and warmth underfoot, £795
  9. Vintage lassi cups add pattern and a silvery shine, (available in a variety of patterns and sizes), £30 – £34
  10. Add sparkle with vintage Moroccan wedding blankets, (shown here Assia) £225 and cushions.

 

If you are a fan of monochrome interiors you can read more on Karonlina Vertus, her apartment and family, in Milk magazine here. Marlene Birger has written two books on her style and properties, you can read more about them and see her artwork here.

 

Maud’s Travels – Marrakech Part 1

 Marrakech Part 1 – Day 1 The Souks

 

aladdins-cave-maud-interiors

Marrakech is one of my favourite cities. I am drawn to its souks bursting with crafts, the creativity of the artisans, the architecture, the fragrant tagines and sweet, sticky, pastries and its welcoming people.  It’s only a short flight from the UK so it’s the perfect destination for a long weekend and paradise for interior lovers.  This post was originally intended to be my suggestions for a long weekend in Marrakech but there is too much information to share so part one focuses on a day in the souks.

 

The souks are situated in the Medina or old town. They stretch over roughly 20 hectares from the Ben Yousef mosque in the north to the main square, Jemaa-el-Fna in the south. It’s a labyrinth of interconnected alleyways full to bursting with hand-woven carpets, intricate metal lanterns and ironmongery, pungent spices and exotic oils, ceramics, leather bags, poufs and slippers, dried fruits, hand carved furniture and baskets.

carpets MarrakechMoroccan lights Marrakech

Marrakech has historically been a trading hub and as well as handicrafts from other regions, you can also find goods from the Maghreb and sub Saharan Africa.   Indigo fabric from Mali, hand carved wooden doors from Benin, jewellery and ceramics from the nomadic Tuaregs and Kuba cloth from the Congo can all be found within the souks.

 

There are eighteen different souks and most of them are devoted to different trades. You will get lost exploring the maze of lanes but you don’t need a guide.  It’s all part of the experience and the best way to discover new places.  If you do become disoriented or are in a hurry to find something just ask one of the stall holders for directions.

Some of my favourite places to visit are:

Criée Berbère, the carpet souk

spice-market-marrakech-maud-interiors

Carpets are sold in many locations in the souks, there are small stalls and three storey riads devoted to them but this is the main area and is situated to one side of Rabha Kdima, the spice market, show in the picture above.

Some tips for buying carpets:

  • Take your time and visit a few places before you make a decision
  • Always ask for a carpet to be held up to the light, as it is easier to detect holes and marks. If it is too dark take the carpet outside and inspect it in natural light
  • Give carpets a good sniff and steer clear of anything with an unpleasant odour as it is likely to be permanent.  That goes for all textiles not just rugs
  • If you are serious about buying a carpet then take a mint tea with your salesman and be prepared to negotiate. There are no fixed prices so bargain hard.

Souk Sebbaghine, the dyers souk

the dyers souk marrakech

You can’t miss this souk as there are always skeins of newly dyed wool in vibrant colours drying overhead in the sun. For a small fee you can see how wool is dyed here.

 

Souk El Haddadine, the blacksmiths souk

tea trays marrakech maud interiorslanterns marrakech

The sound of hammers beating on metal can be heard on approach to the blacksmiths’ souk.  Feast your eyes on lamp stands, beaten metal trays, padlocks, door knockers and ornate candlesticks. Nearby you will find an area specialising in ornate metal lanterns.

One thing to bear in mind if you are buying a lightweight metal lantern is that they don’t travel well. They dent easily and it’s difficult and in some cases impossible to repair them. The best way to transport them is as hand luggage but not all airlines will allow this. My advice is to buy them from one of the larger stalls/shops, as they will be able to pack them securely and arrange shipping.

 

Souk El Khebil

Here you will find woodworkers creating household implements from lemon and orange wood. Chose from handcrafted lemon squeezers, biscuit moulds, honey drizzlers, spoons and ornate kebab sticks. They make great gifts. Note that unlike the carpet souks, where the sellers are agents for the weavers and put a substantial mark up on the carpets, these stall holders are the artisans and the work is labour intensive so the prices are fixed.

 

Terasse Des Epices, Dar Cherifa

Terrasses Des Epices MarrakechMint tea Marrakechterrasse-des-epices-marrakech-maud-interiors

 

When you are footsore, tired of dodging kamikaze motorbike drivers, donkeys, carts and bicycles, and overwhelmed with the choice of beautiful handicrafts take some time out and stop for a mint tea and pastries, or lunch, at Terasses Des Epices in Dar Cherifa. The food is a wonderful Franco-Moroccan fusion, there is a great atmosphere and the mist of water from the roof top sprays will help to cool you down.

After lunch check out the hand-embroidered linens at Scenes Du Lin, the black and white pottery from Fez, and the beldi glasses in Dar Cherifa.

 

Rahba Kdima, the spice market

Spice market MarrakechDried rosebuds Marrakech

 

Mounds of exotic spices, dyes, herbs, fragrant oils, henna, kohl, dried roses and rosewater, savon noir, ghassoul and traditional medicines are sold in this market.

 

Visit A Traditional  Hammam

local hammam Marrakech

 

The best way to relax after a day exploring the souks is to have a traditional hammam. You can go to a public one, some riads offer them, or you can go to one of the large hotels or spas. You can read about my hammam experience and learn how to create your own at home here. Note that you should allow at least two hours for the full experience.

L’Art Du Bain, Souk el Badine

lart-du-bain-marrakechlart-du-bain2-marrakech-maud-interiors

If you enjoy your hammam experience you can stock up on products at L’Art Du Bain, in Souk el Badine near Souk Sebbaghine. Here you will find argan oil soaps with blends of herbs and flowers like orange blossom. I like the Little Fatima argan oil soap with ghassoul clay and grains, the Savon de Hammam, which is the black soap used for exfoliation in the hammam, and Louise, Louisa argan oil soap with verbena and lemon. All the products are beautifully packaged and make great gifts.

 

Said Argan, Souk El Kemmahhine

For argan oil, said to be rich in anti-ageing properties and anti-oxidants, I recommend Said Argan. It’s a tiny kiosk run by a women’s cooperative at 6 Souk El Kemmahhine near Dar Cherifa, almost opposite the equally tiny beldi glass shop.  Blink and you will miss them. They have a range of argan related beauty products. My favourite is the argan oil with rose.

 

Watch The Entertainment At Jemaa-el-Fna

After a busy day take a pre-dinner stroll through Jemaa-el-Fna,or take in the spectacle of snake charmers, acrobats, musicians and dancers from a cafe overlooking the square.

jemaa-el-fnaa-marrakech

Dine At Nomad

For dinner I recommend Nomad, at 1 Derb Aarjan near Rahba Kdima, the spice market, for its cool cocktails, delicious Moroccan cuisine with a modern twist and chic, modern global, interiors.

Nomad Marrakechkilim-seating-nomad-marrakech-maud-interiorsnomad-kilim-seating-maud-interiors

Where To Stay

There are thousands of hotels and riads in Marrakech to choose from. I prefer to stay in a riad in the Medina and my favourite place to stay is Riad 72. You can read more about it here.

 

ABC Fifties Style

A 1950’s Sampler

I discovered this sampler in my mother’s house whilst looking after her.  Sadly her battle with Alzheimer’s and dementia was in its final stages and she was unable to tell me about it but I know that she made it at school or as part of her degree in art and textiles.  I like the simple use of fabrics and the subtle colour palette, I’m guessing this was partly due to limited materials in the post war period, and the designs and patterns she created.

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The lettering on every right hand page features different patterns.

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A poodle with attitude!

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Love the foliage on this page and the mix of patterns.

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1950’s style swooping birds and another very decorative tree

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My favourite design is this wasp with gossamer-like wings.

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