Exotic Inspiration – Morocco

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a fashion designer. In fact right through my teens up until I was about 21 I still wanted to. I’d design for myself formal dresses (school formal, debutante and maids dresses) and my very talented Mother would draw up a pattern and make them – super talented, beautifully crafted! I’m not sure why I didn’t enrol to study fashion straight out of school but it seemed that it wasn’t a path I consciously pursued, I pursued travel instead. Not such a bad compromise. It wasn’t until I traveled to Nepal and hiked to Everest Base Camp, met delightfully gorgeous Sherpa’s and began to look at the world a little differently that I decided that a career in fashion wasn’t for me. I’ll have you know however that I still adore Haute Couture and marvel at the art of fine designers past and present.

Why all this fashion talk you ask. Well, I’ll tell you. I saw Yves Saint Laurent at the cinema (yes, I recommend it) and I fell in love with the fashion design process all over again. I won’t be quitting my day job but I do fancy getting my sketch book out to draw and see what I come up with. I’m not much of a sewer and operate best by creating patterns myself. It’s quite time consuming but I really enjoy the process of working it all out. The international runways need not be concerned!

The other aspect of the film that sparked my interested was vision of the blue house or Jardin Majorelle, the house that Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé bought in1980 in Marrakech, Morocco and restored. When I got home not only did I search pictures of YSL the early days but I looked for images of Jardin Majorelle which then took on a life of its own as I discovered more and more Moroccan and Marrakesh houses, gardens and courtyards. I have to admit, I’m falling in love with the tiled internal courtyards. They are beautiful, artistic, refreshing and some are centuries old. This style of house and central courtyard is called a Riad, and many of the Riads in Marakech have now been transformed in hotels that you can enjoy.

In some of the gardens and courtyards there appears to be so much going on within them, there are the tiles laid in an unimaginable array of patterns and colours, plants, usually green and sculptural and occasionally smaller flowers dotted about the space. Then there are the water features, the furniture, the draped fabrics, the pots, the carved doors and window frames. But, the order and considered placement of all of those elements creates a space that invites you to linger, relax in and forget about the busyness beyond the property walls.

These gardens have certainly sparked my imagination for travel and design and my list of gardens to visit, stay in and explore around the world has grown. I delight in the possibility of one day visiting and staying in one of these Riads, experiencing firsthand the heat of the exterior and the coolness of the interior, the busyness of the Medina’s and the quiet of the courtyard, the sights and sounds of everything!

Our Australian, and in particular our Northern NSW location and climate lends itself well to this style of courtyard and garden offering the opportunity to be enjoyed year round in comfort.

Have you stayed in a Moroccan Riad? We’d love to hear about your experience, please leave a comment to tell us about it.

Until next time


Note; all images have been sourced from Pinterest where you will find many more examples of beautiful Riads. You can also follow some on Instagram.

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