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Beyond the Brick Facade of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Morocco

Designed by French architecture Studio KO, the museum stands as a tribute to the legendary fashion designer.

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Beyond the Brick Facade of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Morocco

In the heart of Marrakech, the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech (mYSLm) stands as a tribute to the legendary French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. Opening its doors in autumn 2017, this museum houses an extensive selection from the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent’s collection, featuring 5,000 items of clothing, 15,000 haute couture accessories, and tens of thousands of sketches and objects. 

Designed by the French architecture firm Studio KO, founded by architects Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier, the museum is situated on Rue Yves Saint Laurent, next to the renowned Jardin Majorelle. Spanning over 4,000 m², the building is more than just a museum. It features a 400 m² permanent exhibition space showcasing Yves Saint Laurent’s work in 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 design of the building reflects Studio KO's fascination with the duality between curves and straight lines, inspired by their research into the designer’s archives in Paris. The exterior is composed of cubic forms adorned with bricks, creating a pattern reminiscent of fabric threads. In contrast, the interior is luxurious and smooth, like the lining of a couture jacket.

Built from terracotta, concrete, and an earthen-coloured terrazzo with Moroccan stone fragments, the museum blends seamlessly with its surroundings. The terracotta bricks that embellish the façade are made from Moroccan earth and produced by a local supplier. The terrazzo used for the floor and facade combines local stone and marble, further embedding the structure in its environment.

The Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent has employed exceptionally precise methods for conserving textiles, ensuring the designer’s work is preserved in perfect archival condition. In collaboration with X-Art, specialists in preventative conservation, the museum features an air conditioning system with temperature and moisture control, safeguarding items ranging from couture dresses to rare books. 

The auditorium, with state-of-the-art acoustics designed in collaboration with Theatre Projects Consultant, hosts concerts, film screenings, and conferences. The lighting engineers from I.C.O.N have meticulously installed lighting for the museum’s exterior, interior, and exhibition space, enhancing the visitor experience.

The library’s collection includes books on Arabic and Andalusian history, geography, literature, poetry, botany, Berber culture, and the world of fashion. This rich assortment complements the museum’s mission to celebrate and preserve Yves Saint Laurent’s legacy, providing a comprehensive resource for researchers and enthusiasts alike.

The Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech is a testament to the designer's enduring influence and the meticulous efforts to honour his work. With its stunning architecture, extensive collections, and cutting-edge conservation techniques, the museum offers an immersive experience into the world of one of fashion’s greatest icons.

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