Rockin’ Moroccan

Riad wool rug, $170-$1,100, West Elm, Birmingham,

Ann Sacks tile adds energy and eloquence to a space, price available upon request, Michigan Design Center, Troy,

Moroccan wedding blanket cushion, $150, Maryam Montague,

Metal orb light, $160, West Elm, Birmingham,

Hand-dyed tribal  fabric, $125, Maryam Montague,

Moroccan glass pendants, $215-$240, West Elm, Birmingham,

Chez Sheik Moroccan furniture stencil, $30, Royal Design Studio,

Vintage Moroccan Kilim cushion, $125,  Maryam Montague,

F. Schumacher & Co. wallpapers are both modern and exotic in spirit, prices available upon request, Michigan Design Center, Troy,

Multi-colored Ashik wool rug, $170-$1,100, West Elm, Birmingham,

Moroccan wedding blanket cushion, $150, Maryam Montague,

Ann Sacks tile with a focus on capturing natural beauty in geometric form,  symmetry, intricacies, and repetition, prices available upon request, Michigan Design Center, Troy,

Toubkal lace Moroccan wall stencil, $60,  Royal Design Studio,

Moroccan border wall stencil, price available upon request, Royal Design Studio,

Diamond shag pillow cover, $40, West Elm, Birmingham,

Sequin shag pillow cover, $40, West Elm, Birmingham,

Marrakesh Express-ions!

Our stylist packs her bags for a photography and styling workshop in Morocco

I’ve long had a desire to visit Morocco, so when an opportunity to participate in a weeklong photography and styling workshop in Marrakesh presented itself, I jumped at the chance.

Several days of flights and layovers ended with eight women from varying design fields descending upon bustling Marrakesh, where we stayed in an otherworldly riad (a traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden or courtyard) just outside the city.

Marrakesh is a dusty, vibrant, and spiritual city full of rich visuals and inspiration for designers. Homes and riads are casual, yet meticulously curated; the spaces are often filled with tribal relics, historic textiles, and brightly colored geometric rugs and tiles. Dye-saturated fabrics and hand-woven killims cover walls from floor to ceiling, and pierced metal courtyard lanterns dangle from above.

Moroccan design is anything but arbitrary — color and pattern choices are made with deliberate spiritual and symbolic significance in mind. Genies (jinns) play a leading role in Moroccan lore, as they have become analogous to demons. Many textiles, fabrics, and accessories — including pillows, poufs, and wedding blankets — have mirrors to placate these lurking genies. Lavender is often used in landscaping to ward off evil spirits.

Islamic culture also largely excludes the portrayal of human and animal figures. As a result, geometric and floral patterns appear prominently. Arabesque (repetitive geometric patterns) symbolize eternity and are ubiquitous in Moroccan design.

Moroccan color is sensual, sacred, and vibrant, and contrasts  the neutral landscape. Each color carries meaning and function.

As for shopping,  lanterns, poufs,  and wedding blankets — as well as oils, soaps, and spices — tempted me at every opportunity. Beyond what I purchased and brought back with me, several treasured pieces arrived by mail to my home weeks later — Berber rugs and a leather talisman, to name a couple. I long to go back for more. I found Marrakesh style to be crafted, personal, and intentional. It offers a welcome approach to any design project. — Stephanie Potts

Lanterns cast a pretty glow in Marrakesh’s main souk (market) in the Medina.

Colorfully woven wall hangings adorn Peacock Pavilions, a boutique hotel.

This styled vignette, created for a photo assignment during the workshop at Peacock Pavilions, gets an A-plus!