Living in the palmeraie is always a liberating experience.
for all of its many delights, Marrakesh can seem intense at times,
especially during the summer when the heat and dust become
overwhelming. But the palmeraie, being just an easy drive from the
city, yet feels a world away from the medina. While the old city is tightly
packed and self-contained, this plantation of thousands of palm trees
feels wide open and refreshingly calm and peaceful. it’s no wonder,
then, that a pearl string of designer hotels and bespoke residences
have established themselves in this rural enclave. Among the most
seductive of this new breed of buildings is an enticing contemporary
home designed by architect heléna Marczewski and Belgian interior
designer esther Gutmer.
the Maison palmeraie is a crafted example of a fresh wave of
design that has recently made its mark in Morocco, splicing traditional
Moroccan ideas and contemporary thinking from europe and beyond.
this new home, for a Belgo-Moroccan family, blends the organic
qualities and earthy feel of traditional Moroccan rammed earth
homes, with strong clean lines, a fluid layout, a wealth of natural light
and an instinctive relationship between inside and outside living.
now based in Morocco, Marczewski studied architecture in
Mexico. she was much inspired by the work of modernist pioneer luis
Barragán, his mastery of light and materials, the rhythm of his buildings
as they shifted from space to space, creating rich contrasts and a
sense of discovery. for this house, Marczewski respected the setting
with its established grove of olive trees, preserving its character and
the idea of a journey of surprises is very much to the fore within the
small number of bespoke houses that Marczewski has designed in the
palmeraie. At first appearing relatively closed and private, Maison
palmeraie begins to reveal delights; two cactus gardens are carefully
positioned around the main entrance. inside, the layout is fluid and
free with very few solid doorways. the generous living spaces are
arranged around a central courtyard, complete with a pool that
forms a focal point, and acts as a light well, complementing banks of
windows and that open to the gardens and terraces.