Scenographer, exhibition and shopChristophe Martin
ClientJardin Majorelle SCA
Auditorium’s acousticsStudio KO + Theatre Projects Consultant
Text description provided by the architects. Dedicated to the work of the legendary French fashion designer, the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech (mYSLm) opened its doors in autumn 2017. It houses an important selection from the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent’s impressive collection, which comprises 5,000 items of clothing, 15,000 haute couture accessories as well as tens of thousands of sketches and assorted objects.
The building has been designed by the French architecture firm Studio KO, founded by architects Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier. Situated on Rue Yves Saint Laurent, adjacent to the famous Jardin Majorelle, the new building spans over 4,000 m2 and is more than just a museum. It features a 400 m2 permanent exhibition space, showcasing Yves Saint Laurent’s work within an original scenography designed by Christophe Martin; a 150 m2 temporary exhibition space, a 130-seat auditorium, a bookshop, a café-restaurant with a terrace and a research library housing 5,000 books.
The library’s collection includes books on Arabic and Andalusian history, geography, literature, and poetry, as well as numerous volumes related to botany, Berber culture, Yves Saint Laurent’s oeuvre and the world of fashion. While researching the designer’s archives in Paris, Studio KO was intrigued by the duality between curves and straight lines, and the succession of loose and clean cuts. From the outside, the building is composed of cubic forms adorned with bricks which create a pattern resembling threads of fabric. The inside is markedly different, like the lining of a luxurious couture jacket: luminous, velvety and smooth.
Built of terracotta, concrete and an earthen coloured terrazzo with Moroccan stone fragments, the building blends harmoniously with its surroundings. The terracotta bricks that embellish the facade are made from Moroccan earth and produced by a local supplier. The terrazzo used for the floor and facade is made using a combination of local stone and marble.
Exceptionally precise methods for conserving textiles have been put in place by the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, which has worked for over a decade towards the archiving of the late designer’s work. In collaboration with X-Art, specialists in preventative conservation, the Marrakech museum features an air conditioning system complete with temperature and moisture control to ensure that each item, be it a couture dress from the collection on show in the exhibition space or a rare book in the basement archives, remains preserved in perfect archival condition.
The auditorium’s state-of-the-art acoustics were designed by the architects in collaboration with Theatre Projects Consultant. This allows for the programming of concerts, film screenings, and conferences in a separate and soundproof space. After a thorough study, the lighting engineers I.C.O.N installed the lighting of the external spaces surrounding the museum, the museum’s interior, and the atmospheric lighting for the exhibition space.