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Dream Houses

A Berber villa with contemporary monastic style


This Moroccan house learns to tutoyer the infinite minimalist and industrial trend. A mix to discover urgently ...

Inspired by Berber architecture and Kasbahs, this ultracontemporary villa facing the Atlas Mountains is totally in keeping with the desert landscape of the region. A minimalist performance signed by Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty Studio KO for a family who, for the holidays, finds refuge and serenity closer to the immensity of the sky and the silence of the earth. And learn to befriend infinity with a current way of life.

To build a spacious dwelling

After leaving the macadam ribbon, the track to get to Villa D. is full of ruts, it gets lost between the thorny barriers before finding its chaotic layout. In the neighborhood, a few cube-shaped houses scattered on the ocher expanse of the bled, women invisible inside, men nonchalant outside and palm trees dying of thirst. In the distance, very isolated, the villa is not visible as it is assimilated to the horizontal landscape. The desert, around, seems so vast. It is in this poor and sublime environment, opening as far as the eye can see on the Atlas Mountains, that a French family of four children, in search of infinity, chose to elect their residence. vacation. She knew exactly what she wanted. Called Studio KO, by pure intuition. But the young agency, which shares its offices between Paris and Marrakech, had already made itself known in Morocco by building a house in the north-east of the country for the Hermes family. Instantly, the project has developed in total complicity. What makes the two architects say: "we built together". The mission for them was to build a spacious and contemporary home but focusing on keeping the Moroccan spirit with its traditional methods of construction.

A patio for each room

The important thing was to translate the country's culture without exoticism in favor of a refined architecture, inhabited, thoughtful. To say that neither one likes Moorish art, mosaic, chiselled plaster, cedar wood carvings and sumptuous palates would be a lie. But their attraction to Morocco is expressed today in other words, in the raw simplicity of the Berber habitat. Villa D. is a rigorous association of rectilinear lines and ancestral know-how passed down from generation to generation by Maghreb artisans. With its terracotta brick walls that give it the impression of being born of the landscape, it approaches the same ecological principles of the architect Hassan Fathy who, in the years 1945, used this millenary material to build his Egyptian construction sites: the clay extracted from the ground at the time of the foundations is immediately reused on site. Economical and natural, it lets the walls breathe while acting as a thermal regulator. In fact, the house rests on an ideal of geometric simplicity. The structure in squares and nested rectangles reflects the composition of the family, its way of life and its purist vision of volumes. Without makeup, without disguise. Inside, the rhythm is articulated along two perpendicular wings. One houses the children's space: four identical rooms each with a patio that has the quality of a small cloister, intimate universe where all that is not necessary is sidelined. And a large bathroom inspired by the hammams and the organization of a boarding school. The parental area is spread over two floors. On the ground floor, the rooms follow one another, unwinding to the library a central lane that draws the perfect symmetry of a Cistercian church.

Metal dress doors

The luxury is also to cross without being bothered by the abundance of furniture or paintings. Villa D. feeds on herself and the landscape. Perspectives reinforce this feeling of the eye. They make it possible to understand how one space leads to the other and how the construction connects naturally with the outside through the openings to the invisible frames. In this clarified field of vision, the eye becomes sensitive to details that are not usually noticed, the hollow joints for example at the level of the ground alleviate the mass of the walls. Or the doors clad in a studded metal plate, which refers to the uses in the medina. We reach the first floor by a flight of steps enclosed between two narrow walls whose notion of ascent is accentuated by the natural light illuminating the landings. Autonomous design of the staircase, this breadcrumb leads to the loft-bedroom that occupies the entire floor. This one is organized in sequences symbolically marked by the central chimney, the dressing-room, the bathroom. The constant mobility of light and its shadows permeate the house with a primitive spirituality. While outside the black concrete pool inspired by an irrigation basin naturally integrates water as an element of communication with the earth and the sky.

Renewal of Moroccan architecture

Villa D. participates in the revival of Moroccan architecture, often misinterpreted. Today, Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty no longer count on the comings and goings between Paris, where they manage their projects in France and abroad, and Marrakech, where they are working on their latest project: 250 luxury villas in Paris. Domaine Royal Palm, all different but united by the same minimalist concept with ecological references: the land. A living material that wears time embellishes.