Located in Marrakech, the Musée Yves Saint Laurent is a grand homage to the great Parisian fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. Housing a selection of clothing, haute couture accessories, and sketches from the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, the museum both celebrates and conserves the work of Saint Laurent. The Parisian designer had a special affinity for Morocco, having restored and lived at the famed Majorelle Garden. This makes the museum’s location nearby all the more appropriate.
Designed by French architecture firm Studio KO and opened in October 2017, the 4,000-square-meter (approximately 43,055-square-foot) complex houses permanent exhibition spaces, an auditorium, a 6,000-volume research library, a bookstore, and a cafe. In creating the space, Studio KO set about researching Saint Laurent’s love of Morocco, which began with his 1966 purchase of a home in Marrakech.
The sites and sounds of Morocco heavily influenced the couturier, who often incorporated the country’s colors and shapes into his haute couture designs. To mirror his artistic vision, Studio KO wanted to incorporate the curves and straight lines that characterized Saint Laurent’s work. The facade’s lace-like brickwork creates a pattern reminiscent of fabrics’ weft and warp, while the interior creates a strong contrast, just like the lining of a couture jacket. Velvety and smooth, it immediately embraces visitors.
“The Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech combines two worlds that we are very familiar with and that are dear to our hearts: fashion and Morocco,” states the firm, which was founded by Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier. “Since the founding of our architectural firm, we have worked in this country that so inspired Saint Laurent. It is with great joy that we have worked on this ambitious project, and contributed in our way to the history and prestige of the most influential fashion designer of the 20th century.”
Studio KO successfully blended the architecture into its surroundings by selecting complementary materials. The facade’s terracotta brickwork is made from Moroccan earth, while the terrazzo floors combine local stone and marble. This harmony gives visitors an immediate sense of calm when approaching the museum, which only continues as they pass through a circular patio immediately upon entering.
With over 20,000 pieces in the collection, as well as a rich exhibition program, the Marrakech museum is a wonderful compliment to Saint Laurent’s other museum at his historic fashion headquarters in Paris.