Yves Saint Laurent’s Marrakesh Home: The Essentials

When Yves Saint Laurent visited Marrakesh for the first time in 1966, it transformed him forever.  The strong sun, lush colors, and intricate patterns you see everywhere left an indelible mark in his mind.  “Marrakech taught me color,” he said.  “Before Marrakech, everything was black.”

Indeed, one of the most important parts of Saint Laurent’s legacy has been the Jardin Majorelle, the garden he restored with Pierre Berge and a must-see on any trip to Marrakesh.  (Tip for visitors: they don’t take credit cards, so bring plenty of dirhams to cover your entry fees.)  The original garden has been joined by the Musee Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech, and plans are now being made to open up Saint Laurent and Berge’s private home (Villa Oasis) to the public.

When it opens, you should think about going to Marrakesh just to see this.  Not only is the house itself spectacular, it captures all the iconic elements of Moorish and Arabesque design, which then fed our favorite Mediterranean, Tuscan, Spanish Revival, and Southwestern styles of architecture and design.  Indeed, there’s literally so much to see at Villa Oasis, it could be hard to absorb in one visit.

Starting from the outdoors, this space is surrounded by a riot of warm weather plants.  Here, fuchsia bougainvillea creates a vibrant canopy in the outdoor patio:

Villa Oasis Terrace (courtesy Elle Decor; Miguel Flores-Vianna)

Pink against cool turquoise.  Maybe not a combination you’d naturally pick out in the morning, but it works so well here.

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A hand-carved and hand-painted cedar door, framed with intricately carved molding.

Villa Oasis Entryway (Ccurtesy Elle Decor; Miguel Flores-Vianna)

The darker and cooler colors of the interior walls contrast with the bright door that still hints at the light outside.  Here are some ideas inspired by this scene:

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Decorated by Jacques Grange, the blue and green furnishings echo the palette of the tiled fireplace.

Villa Oasis Blue Salon (courtesy Elle Decor; Miguel Flores-Vianna)

The cooler colors and lavish yet elegant patterns could work in many interiors:

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Designed for musicians to entertain visitors, this nook in the entrance hall was frequented by Marella Agnelli, Betty and Francois Catroux, and Loulou de la Falaise.

Villa Oasis Entrance Hall (courtesy Elle Decor; Miguel Flores-Vianna)

Party time!  The hot colors suggest fun, and using them consistently inside and outside create one space for indoor-outdoor entertaining:

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The intricately detailed Moorish library is too gorgeous for words:

Villa Oasis Library (courtesy Elle Decor; Miguel Flores-Vianna)

There’s simply so much color, pattern, and rich decoration.  It’s as if not just books but the whole world of design is being collected in this one space.

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Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge’s master bedroom; the hand-carved headboard was painted to match the space:

Villa Oasis Master Bedroom (courtesy Elle Decor; Miguel Flores-Vianna)

Isn’t this space a pure work of fantasy?

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The villa’s top floor, called the Minzah, was designed and painted by Saint Laurent.

Villa Oasis Minzah (courtesy Elle Decor; Miguel Flores-Vianna)

This space is at once pure Marrakesh and at the same time gives us ideas that could bring a little fun anywhere:

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And finally, more shots of Jacques Grange’s custom upholstery:

Villa Oasis furnishings (courtesy Elle Decor; Miguel Flores-Vianna)

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Did this transport you to Marrakesh? If so, click here or see below for more Marrakesh picks:

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