Launching in September 2017, Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech (MYSLM) will house a permanent showcase of Saint Laurent’s work, as well as a temporary exhibition space, a 130-seat auditorium, a café and restaurant. It also houses a bookshop and a research library with collections of fashion, botany, literature, Berber culture and Arab-Andalusian history readings.
The French architectural firm, Studio KO, were tasked with designing the ambitious 4,000 square metre museum after its founding architects Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier were hand picked by Bergé. Marty and Fournier have a strong legacy in fashion and leisure, having previously designed the Balmain flagship in New York and London’s Chiltern Firehouse, as well as Bergé’s holiday home in Morocco.
“Pierre is faithful when it comes to choosing who to work with,” Marty tells me over the phone from his Paris studio, “and because Karl and I collaborated with him before, we already shared intimacy. He knew that we had the ability to create a project that would be contemporary and extremely well detailed. This building could never exist anywhere else but Morocco.”
The architects turned to the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent—the commissioners of the MYSLM project—to pore over the extensive Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) archive, eventually coming up with a concept that saluted both the Moroccan spirit and the man credited for producing some of the most iconic collections in the history of fashion.
The museum’s tectonics were designed to appear like a garment in action, with the exterior constructed to mirror the intricate angles and curves of the YSL aesthetic. On the architectural vision, which began in September 2015, Marty says “the façade acts like weavings of fabric. There are these different lines of brick motifs that run all around the building, wrapping on top of each other like textiles. We also shaped the round patio to mimic a dress, so it looks like this silhouette with very sharp angles. It is as if the building itself was cutting up the fabric to make an outfit.”
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