OF THE EARTH
In a family home on the Moroccan Atlantic Coast, unnecessary furnishings and adornments have been deliberately omitted to let the building’s natural materials – and remarkable surrounds – shine
Unnecessary furnishings have been omitted in this Moroccan abode to let its natural materials and surrounds shine
Not far from the Moroccan city of Asilah, on a piece of land surrounded by wild olive trees and prickly pears, stands a building so natural in its appearance that it could easily be mistaken for a piece of local architecture that’s been there for countless years.
‘This is a house that would have a dog without doing so on purpose,’ laughs its owner Frédéric Winkler , the co-founder and associate director of French atelier DCW éditions. ‘I first visited Tangier in 2006 and quickly discovered Asilah,’ he says, speaking of the fortified city south of Tangier that is reminiscent of Andalusia in Spain and the Cyclades in Greece. ‘I was walking along a trail collecting pebbles, leaves and dried cacti when I found a ridge of land overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with a fig tree in the centre. A few years later, a friend told me the land was for sale, and I jumped at the chance to buy it.’
After that first visit, Winkler regularly returned to Asilah, first alone and then with French ceramicist Ema Pradère, with whom he now shares a life. The couple was drawn to the area’s proximity to the ocean and the raw beauty of the piece of land bordered by prickly pears, so when local entrepreneur Habib Lafriki pitched the idea of building them a house ‘on the ground of the fig tree’, they immediately agreed. Named Dar-l’Ma, or ‘water house’, the abode was constructed with moral as well as aesthetic principles, with Lafriki embracing the uneven land and incorporating raw materials and traditional architectural elements.
Winkler’s great love of objets and art is what inspired him to found DCW éditions, but when it came to the interior design of his new home, he knew he had to practise some self-restraint. ‘I’m obsessed with sculptures, paintings, photographs and lamps, but here we didn’t want too much decor because the landscape is so strong that the house must remain serene,’ he says.
Apart from a few discreet light fittings that create warm ambience when night falls, the interiors are mostly unadorned, allowing the natural textures to shine. ‘There is nothing but stones, ceilings and concrete walls that truly allow you to let yourself go,’ says Winkler, and when you gaze out at the lush garden and out to the azure Atlantic Ocean beyond, it’s clear that this is a rare space where you can do exactly that.
this page As the co-founder of DCW éditions, an atelier known for its statement light fittings, Winkler is often called ‘the man of lights’. opposite Winkler’s eldest daughter’s bedroom is accessible only from outside, and its doorway is illuminated by the Gras Outdoor No 304 wall sconce by DCW éditions.