Of the many museums in Marrakech, there’s one that designer Meryanne Loum-Martin always brings first-time visitors to help them get a sense of the city’s eclectic architectural legacy: Dar Si Said, housed in a 19th-century palace. “There’s a room that gathers absolutely all of the elements of design, from the mosaics, to the carved wood, to the painted wood, to the carved plaster, to the painted plaster—everything is in one room,” says Loum-Martin. “For me, it’s the essence of Marrakech.”
On her very first visit to the city nearly 35 years ago, the former lawyer turned interior designer felt at home. “I’m a mix of a lot of things, part French West Indian, part Senegalese,” says Loum-Martin, who was born in Côte d’Ivoire and lived in London, Moscow, and Paris before settling in Marrakech. “Diversity and mix is part of my DNA, and it is something that I have found here.” Historically, Marrakech has been a crossroads of cultures that have each contributed to the city’s unique aesthetic sense, and today, that global vibrancy continues to draw in creatives.
Those creatives now comprise Loum-Martin’s social circle, and she’s long been fascinated with the way they’ve devised their homes to combine their own tastes with traditional Moroccan decor. “There are a lot of places where there’s fantastic style, but it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to respect the local style and mingle it with your own,” she says. “In Morocco, and in Marrakech, in particular, foreign creatives can be themselves and yet have a Moroccan house.”
This juxtaposition of design sensibilities—where contemporary minimalism can meet ornate tilework, where opulent textiles can meet bare earthen walls—became the foundation of Loum-Martin’s upcoming book, Inside Marrakesh: Enchanting Homes and Gardens (Rizzoli, $60). Here, take a peek at its pages.