Why Neale Whi­taker is in­tox­i­cated by all things Moroc­can.


Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - By Neale Whi­taker

We Aussies, with our love of all things func­tional, min­i­mal and Scan­di­na­vian, have an ex­otic al­ter ego when it comes to in­te­rior de­sign. Morocco. Say the words “Mar­rakech” or (my favourite) “Ouarza­zate” and we go misty-eyed at the thought of tra­di­tional ri­ads with rooms around an al­fresco court­yard; of rich, bur­nished tade­lakt walls and hand­painted tiles; of fra­grant tagines and daz­zling, pea­cock colour. Turmeric, cin­na­mon and saf­fron… the Morocco of the mind even smells amaz­ing.

Whether we’ve been there or not, Morocco ap­peals to our in­ner ro­man­tic. When I post Moroc­can im­ages (usu­ally a favourite riad, such as the legendary El Fenn), my feed goes into emoji over­drive, and I guar­an­tee that in the new March/april is­sue of Vogue Liv­ing one of the most pop­u­lar fea­tures will be L’hô­tel Mar­rakech, a bou­tique re­treat in a for­mer palace, cre­ated by Bri­tish fash­ion de­signer Jasper Con­ran. With bil­low­ing white cur­tains and a court­yard fra­grant with jasmine and hon­ey­suckle, it’s the stuff of fan­tasy.

Cas­san­dra Karin­sky is an Aus­tralian who divides her time be­tween homes in Mar­rakech and Syd­ney. Her store Kulchi (kulchi.com) brings Moroc­can car­pets, tex­tiles and fur­nish­ings to our shores.

Karin­sky calls Morocco “in­tox­i­cat­ing” and says that when she first ar­rived, she “knew in­stantly it was where I had to be”. Morocco’s ap­peal, she feels, lies in its re­mote, oth­er­world­li­ness. “It rep­re­sents an ex­otic, ro­man­tic, far­away land, a place where you can live a bo­hemian life­style.”

Equally be­witched is Tigmi Trad­ing’s Danielle Mcewan (tig­mi­trad­ing.com), who points out that while we tend to think of Moroc­can style as one aes­thetic, there is much re­gional vari­a­tion, from the neu­trals and monochromes as­so­ci­ated with the Beni Ou­rain tribes, to the brighter pal­ettes of Bou­jad and Azi­lal.

“Moroc­can rugs work in al­most any con­text,” she says, “and add tex­ture to the clean lines of mid-cen­tury and mod­ernist in­te­ri­ors” – two styles pop­u­lar in Aus­tralia. Less ro­man­tic, but per­haps a more ra­tio­nal ex­pla­na­tion for our cur­rent Moroc­can love-in.

And a word of ad­vice for the Morocco-scep­tics. Brew some mint tea and lose your­self in Bernardo Ber­tolucci’s 1990 movie The Shel­ter­ing Sky. Be­cause what­ever “epiphany” is in Ber­ber, that’s what it will be. Neale Whi­taker is ed­i­tor-in-chief of Vogue Liv­ing.

SPICE UP YOUR (HOME) LIFE The rich pat­terns and tex­tures of tra­di­tional Moroc­can rugs and fur­nish­ings are a wel­come ad­di­tion to the mod­ernist in­te­ri­ors aes­thetic.

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