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Nine months to restore luster to a riad

Bernard Touillon

Confusing the charm of a riad and the character of the industrialist is the challenge in this typical house in Marrakech. Demonstration on a background of red and gray ...

In the heart of the medina, the architectural form of the riad is a secret reality, entirely turned towards its interior life. Marie-Christine Nourry seeks to circumvent the frozen expectation that can be had by a series of devices which she alone has the secret. She had already managed to live his House Garance, in the Luberon, dotted with laughter and light of Provence. Marrakech is a new challenge. That of renovating and proposing to its customers and friends places singular and ... forgotten.

Less than a year to get there ...

So, how to make narrower tapered pieces a charm asset? How to use dark colors that retain light? How to make live the romantic value of a red in the feminine and the thirst for absolutes of blacks rather masculine? By restoring Riad Dar Amel, she plays on values ‚Äč‚Äčthat contradict and marry, in a play of timeless lines declined in red, gray and black. Rarely have we loved Morocco as intimately as this native of Port Lyautey, to transgress codes while appropriating heritages.

For this original project which lasted nine months, the link of connivance was undeniably that of the language that Marie-Christine has mastered perfectly since her childhood in Morocco. To dialogue, to meet new situations, to discuss the choice of colors, materials: an intuitive complicity with its craftsmen has allowed this passionate decoration to overcome the traditional constraints of ornamentation. Free to hunt materials "as we china objects, as we chine ideas", she is allowed to rethink on an industrial mode the scheme of a classic riad. Immediately it became obvious that a refreshing red, "to emphasize a welcoming warmth, the notion of scene of everyday life, a vital force". And if this color draws its sources in a strong symbolism that goes from power to majesty, power to eroticism, distributed delicately and wisely, it releases here a soft and controlled harmony.

A mix of genres

A headband runs at ceiling height to accentuate the red thread of an untied space and suggest passages. On the ground floor, the garden opens onto the living rooms and the kitchen. And it is undoubtedly she who best expresses all the duality of a deco intention half-fugue half-reason. There are the still lifes of a family home, a synagogue chandelier at the Bab Kemis market, a straight table and metal benches alongside a traditional Beldi tinplate stove. On either side of a cement cube tinged with black, we discuss, simmer, share and when we go to the table, we simply draw the gray curtains of the small culinary theater.

From the patio, a flight of stairs with a rigorously contemporary design leads to the bedrooms and the terrace overlooking the rooftops of the medina. One would not be surprised at the turn of a deep armchair or the intimacy of a room to see arise a diva draped in melancholy. The emotional and lyrical charge of an opera stage is flush with antique mirrors, padded armchairs, crystal chandeliers, sensual linen curtains and a captivating red tempo. But this Baroque expressiveness is counterbalanced by the rigor of gray floors and sumptuous black marble, niches, arches and concrete chimneys with a decidedly rectilinear layout.

In Marrakech, everything is allowed as long as you tame the harmony. We are in Dar Amel, and that means "hope". In the red city, so go the wishes in the evening light.

More info: Marie-Christine Nourry, tel. : 00 212 678 39 67 64, e-mail: [email protected]