Less is Moor

The Yves Saint Lau­rent Mu­seum in Mar­rakech is set to be a les­son in re­strained el­e­gance

Wallpaper - - September - WRITER: EMMA O’KELLY

Mar­rakech’s Yves Saint Lau­rent Mu­seum

No build­ing bet­ter sums up the pas­sions of its pa­trons than the new Yves Saint Lau­rent Mu­seum in Mar­rakech. Its form evokes the re­strained el­e­gance that de­fined all of the late Saint Lau­rent’s de­signs; its moder­nity sat­is­fies Pierre Bergé, his part­ner in work and life; and its red brick façade echoes the sun-soaked pal­ette of the coun­try that the pair fell in love with.

‘When we first dis­cov­ered Mar­rakech in 1966, we were so moved by the city that we im­me­di­ately de­cided to buy a house here,’ ex­plains Bergé. Twice a year, in De­cem­ber and June, Saint Lau­rent would head to Mar­rakech for two weeks to de­sign his haute cou­ture col­lec­tions. His Moroc­can hide­away also be­came a leg­endary den of he­do­nism, and in 2002, when he re­tired, Mar­rakech be­came his haven. ‘It feels per­fectly nat­u­ral, 50 years later, to build a mu­seum ded­i­cated to Saint Lau­rent’s oeu­vre, which was so in­spired by this coun­try,’ says Bergé.

The new mu­seum’s per­ma­nent gallery fea­tures YSL clas­sics – the pea coat, the Mon­drian dress, ‘le smok­ing’ and the sa­fari jacket – as well as 50 rarely-seen pieces, all loaned by the Fon­da­tion Pierre Bergé-yves Saint Lau­rent in Paris. French ar­chi­tect Christophe Mar­tin has de­signed the dis­plays around themes close to Saint Lau­rent’s heart, among them Mas­cu­line-fem­i­nine, Black, Africa and Morocco.

With its li­brary, au­di­to­rium, gallery, book­shop and café, Bergé pre­dicts the mu­seum will be­come a cul­tural hub. He is well versed at kick­start­ing cul­tural ac­tiv­ity in Morocco; in 1980, he and Saint Lau­rent saved the neigh­bour­ing Jardin Ma­jorelle from ruin. The mu­seum’s min­i­mal gar­dens will, like those of its neigh­bour, be filled with na­tive suc­cu­lents, tiled pools and palms.

Bergé knew ex­actly who he wanted to de­sign the new mu­seum in Mar­rakech (there will also be a sis­ter mu­seum in Paris, de­signed by reg­u­lar Fon­da­tion PB-YSL col­lab­o­ra­tors, ar­chi­tect Jac­ques Grange and scenog­ra­pher Nathalie Crinière, which will launch at the same time as the Mar­rakech one). Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier, founders of Paris­based Stu­dio KO, opened a satel­lite of­fice in Mar­rakech 15 years ago and worked with Bergé on his pri­vate house in Tang­ier. Like Bergé and Saint Lau­rent be­fore them, the pair went to Morocco on a whim and were also cap­ti­vated by its colours and tex­tures. The Musée Yves Saint Lau­rent Mar­rakech opens on 19 Oc­to­ber; fon­da­tion-pb-ysl.net; stu­dioko.fr

The ar­chi­tects, Stu­dio KO, worked with just one con­trac­tor, and the ex­te­ri­ors were fin­ished in July. Pierre Bergé vis­ited the site once a month

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