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

Elle Decoration (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - Text Pho­to­graphs LAU­RENCE DOUGIER NI­CO­LAS MATHÉUS

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.

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