World-renowned tastemaker Meryanne Loum-Martin began her love affair with Marrakesh in 1985 after an unfulfilling (albeit successful) career as a lawyer in Paris. Loum-Martin had spent time in New York, Rio, London, and her childhood home of Paris, but none of these cities felt right for her personally on her search for an inspiring retreat. She had fallen in love with India but felt it was too far for a weekend getaway. So, she set off on a much closer three-hour flight to Morocco.
“The very day I set foot in Marrakesh, I knew I had found my home, my lifelong partner, a city overflowing with vibrant energy,” she writes. And over the last 35 years, she has been inspired by the vibrant colors and energy of the spectacular city, while bringing inspiration of her own.
Loum-Martin is the only Black hotelier in the city, and an extremely successful one at that. Her boutique hotel, Jnane Tamsna, has accommodated names such as Giorgio Armani, Mick Jagger, Jean Paul Gaultier, David Bowie, Brad Pitt, and Princess Caroline of Monaco. Her highly anticipated first book, Inside Marrakesh, set to release later this month, offers insight into not only her own stunning hotel but also the homes, gardens, and hotels that have made Marrakesh a leading design capital of the world.
The book takes you on a page-turning tour of the inspiring properties of some of the world’s greatest design connoisseurs, like Vanessa Branson and Helen and Brice Marden, along with a visual design history of the last 50 years of Marrakesh. Loum-Martin features works from pioneers Bill Willis, Yves Saint Laurent, and Pierre Bergé, who led the way in bringing Moroccan design to the masses. She displays how their use of Moroccan design elements (zellige tile work, rugs, pottery, fountains, woodwork, metalwork, and Tadelakt wall treatments) mixed with furnishings from around the world helped popularize the global eclectic aesthetic and still inspires us today.
Inside Marrakesh also pays homage to the city’s fabulous gardens, many of which are private oases, like the Madison Cox–designed citrus gardens of the Villa Oasis and the Bvlgari’s spectacular riad. These courtyard gardens and dreamy outdoor entertaining spaces are sure to inspire many a garden project.
The book not only highlights Marrakesh’s illustrious history and relevance in architecture, interiors, art, and textile design, but it also helps illustrate what the future may look like for the Ochre City. Marrakesh has long been employing eco-friendly materials before it was on-trend, but Loum-Martin hopes the city can continue to pioneer sustainably beautiful living.
“This is our vision for Marrakesh: on the one hand, rigorous environmental standards, traditional architecture enhanced by technology, and the smallest environmental footprint; on the other, the savoir faire of rural communities in terms of land management, craftsmanship, and construction, all while embracing a contemporary aesthetic sensibility,” Loum-Martin writes.
If you’ve never been to Marrakesh, Inside Marrakesh will have you dreaming of a trip to the beautiful city one day soon, and at the very least, spark your creativity to help you create a more beautiful home and garden. It offers a much-welcomed escape to a place that will always offer inspiration and beauty when the rest of the world is full of unknowns, even if for a weekend afternoon.
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