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Musée Yves Saint Laurent, Marrakech, Morocco

Musée Yves Saint Laurent, Marrakech, Morocco

A museum dedicated to one of the 20th century’s most celebrated fashion designers should be a piece of art in its own right. An ugly, uninteresting, boring building simply would not do – especially when the designer being celebrated is none other than France’s legendary Yves Saint Laurent. 


Studio KO, a Paris-based architecture bureau run by partners Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier, has been selected to create a structure worthy of housing a portion of the Foundation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent’s collection of over 5,000 haute-couture garments, 15,000 accessories and thousands of photos, sketches and other objects. 


Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech






Musée Yves Saint Laurent is part of an international project to preserve and the fashion maestro’s work for future generations. Two museums are to be built: one in Paris and one in the designers spiritual home of Marrakech, Morocco. It is the Marrakech museum where Project of the Week’s attention lies this time around. 


KO’s new museum will sit proudly next to the Jardin Majorelle. Jardin Majorelle is a stunning house, packed with Islamic art and surrounded by sumptuously appointed gardens. It was once owned by Saint Laurent himself and his ashes were scattered there after his death in 2008. 


Musée Yves Saint Laurent





Musée Yves Saint Laurent has a planned area of 4,000 square metres and is truly mixed use. A permanent exhibition area will be complemented by a 130-seat auditorium, a bookshop, a café-restaurant, complete with terrace, and a further temporary exhibition space. Also included in the program is a research library full of volumes examining botany, poetry, Morocco’s native Berber culture, history and, of course, the life and works of Yves Saint Laurent. 


Musée Yves Saint Laurent Ground Plan 01

Musée Yves Saint Laurent Ground Plan 01






Musée Yves Saint Laurent’s designers drew on the surrounding architectural language and the creative processes of high fashion to achieve its unique, curvaceous look. A sophisticated, tactile structure has therefore been planned. 


Terracotta will be used to make up the external skin. In an extra contextual touch, bricks from local suppliers are to be utilised in the façade’s construction. Concrete, terrazzo and Moroccan stone are also to feature in the structure.





Muséé Yves Saint Laurent


While the materials used are appropriate to the North African context in which the building will sit, it would be a shame if a structure designed to celebrate a fashion house was not a fashion statement itself. KO realised this and, working alongside the Foundation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, used sartorial influences to sculpt the museum’s volumes.


“We designed the building like one would cut fabric for a dress, by composing curves and lines, in the fashion of the working drawings, white traced on black paper, that we discovered in the designer’s workshop and archives,” the architects explained. “Its façades would be wrapped in a brick trim, like a drape, a throw, a cape.”


By fusing local Moroccan aesthetics with high-fashion sensibilities, Studio KO has conceptualised a highly stylish, appropriate building to house the works of one of France’s preeminent fashion designers. Musée Yves Saint Laurent will open in 2017 alongside its Parisian counterpart.


Images: © 2016 Studio KO, Foundation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent





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