Rue Yves Saint Laurent
The blistering heat in New York these past few days reminded me to write about the bits of coolness and shade we found when we visited Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech. Jardin Majorelle is a botanical garden created in the 1920’s by Jacques Majorelle, a French painter and son of the famous Art Nouveau furniture designer Louis Majorelle. Majorelle arrived in Marrakech in 1917 for health reasons and there, he created his home and greatest masterpiece – a 12-acres tropical oasis with giant cactuses, bamboo, coconut palms, banana trees, lily-ponds, pools and fountains. He used bright bold colors throughout the garden – on clay pots, walkways and pergolas. The vivid cobalt blue that he used on the exterior walls of the buildings have now become known as “Majorelle blue”. In 1980, French couturier Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge bought and restored the house and gardens. They lived in the artist’s home, which they called the Villa Oasis, until Saint Laurent’s death in 2008; his ashes were spread in the rose garden.
Majorelle’s former painting studio is now home to the Berber Museum, the first museum in Morocco dedicated to Berber objects showcasing a selection of jewelry, leather, textiles, costumes and other cultural items. Behind the Berber museum is a small gallery showcasing the New Year’s greeting cards that Yves Saint Laurent designed and sent to his friends and clients each year.