Architecture, Design, Marrakesh, Materials, Morocco, Yves Saint Laurent, Yves Saint Laurent Museum

Studio KO’s brickwork Yves Saint Laurent museum opens in Marrakesh

French architecture firm Studio KO’s Yves Saint Laurent museum has opened its door in Marrakesh, Morocco, complete with a brickwork facade and interiors inspired by the lining of a jacket.

All photography by Nicolas Mathéus

Dedicated to the work of the legendary French fashion designer, the new Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech (mYSLm) houses an important selection from the Fondation Pierre Bergé: Yves Saint Laurent’s impressive collection, which comprises 5,000 items of clothing, 15,000 haute couture accessories as well as tens of thousands of sketches and assorted objects.

Situated on Rue Yves Saint Laurent, adjacent to the famous Jardin Majorelle, the new building spans over 4,000m2, including a 400 m2 permanent exhibition space, showcasing Yves Saint Laurent’s work within an original scenography designed by Christophe Martin.

It also includes a 150m2 temporary exhibition space, a 130-seat auditorium, a bookshop, a café-restaurant with a terrace and a research library housing 5,000 books.

While researching the designer’s archives in Paris, Studio KO was intrigued by the duality between curves and straight lines, and the succession of loose and clean cuts.

From the outside, the building is composed of cubic forms adorned with bricks in terracotta which create a pattern resembling threads of fabric. The inside is markedly different, like the lining of a luxurious couture jacket.

The terracotta bricks that embellish the facade are made from Moroccan earth and produced by a local supplier. The terrazzo used for the floor and facade is made using a combination of local stone and marble.

The museum also features monochromatic stained glass windows in the lobby wall which are inspired by traditional Moroccan-style stained glass.

Other traditional materials used within the design include glazed bricks, zellige tiles, granite, laurel branches and oak; incorporated in cafe, library, stairwells, courtyards and hallways of the museum.

Founded by Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier, the architects have completed numerous residential and public projects such as the Villa E and Villa K in Morocco, the Chiltern Firehouse in London, and the Balmain boutique in New York.