Loum-Martin features works from pioneers Bill Willis, Yves Saint Laurent, and Pierre Bergé, who led the way in bringing Moroccan design to the masses. The film was made with the support of Bill's close friend, the late Pierre Berge and the … The Getty residence was his first commission in Marrakech For four decades, the architect and decorator Bill Willis was the unlikely point man in Morocco for voluptuous houses redolent of concubines and the woozy, opium-fogged dreamscapes of 19th-century Western painters like Georges Clairin. He was in touch with himself and creation, a confidence in what he thought was right, good and beautiful. He studied and rescued the old techniques of craftsmen from North Africa and gave them a new life by daring to change the paradigms of this ancient style. Thus, learning a new design language, Willis worked his spell, knitting everything together with confidence, subtlety and gaiety. 'The lanky, cranky, often pharmacologically fueled interior designer to Morocco’s fête set for nearly 40 years'. Bill Willis in front of the future Getty residence, Palais de la Zahia, in 1967. Villa Allal is a sumptuous property of classic style designed by Bill Willis, with an elegant look and a timeless touch. Bill Willis (1937-2009) was the leading light of Moroccan-style interior design. This charming retreat is owned by Jasper Conran. The Gettys’ palace, with its four courtyards, ancient harem and great green-glazed garden court, still retained much of its 19th-century grandeur, as well as decorative traces from the ’20s and ’30s. If you follow the western wall of the king’s new palace, just past the Gettys’ house (which is now owned by Bernard-Henri Lévy and his wife, Arielle Dombasle), there it is, unchanged, at least outwardly. Willis was capable of working in many veins. Sketch was commissioned by Neon to produce a 30 minute documentary about the late American architect, Bill Willis.Bill hailed from the deep south of the US, but ended up living in Marrakech and becoming a highly influential interior architect in Morocco. -, COPYRIGHT 2020 ~ CATHERINE M. AUSTIN INTERIOR DESIGN ~ 3300 STANWYCK COURT ~ CHARLOTTE, NC 28211 ~ (704) 517-8622, STEP INSIDE POPPY DELAVIGNE’S LONDON HOME VIA ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST, ANTHROSCENERY: AURORA ROBSON AT THE NEW GALLERY OF MODERN ART. A Magician from Memphis Moroccan craftsmanship was on its way to extinction when an unknown decorator arrived in Marrakech in the 1960s. One maalem (or master craftsman), in particular, opened many doors for the decorator: Ma’alem Houman, who was skilled in the brickwork and tadelakt (a glazed plaster mixed with pigment and soap) that Willis brought out of the hammam (or bathhouse) and into Moorish interiors. Later, in the early ’80s, they bought the much larger Villa Oasis—Majorelle’s own house—and, with Willis editing, enriching and echoing earlier work, created the richly wrought pleasure dome that became their home (Dar es Saada was converted to a guesthouse). In his own home (Dar Noujoum)—a fragment of a medina palace, its great room with a high-painted dome overlooking a desolate graveyard—his use of marble and zellige was spare. For centuries, silver-bearded turbaned craftsmen from Fez and Meknes had been coming to work in the ancient mosques and palaces of Marrakech, instructing sloe-eyed youths in their arts. And he was intoxicated during most waking hours. Such was the case with Bill Willis, Memphis-born and a longtime fixture of the sacred yet seamy quarter of Sidi Bel Abbes near the heart of the Marrakech medina. The theatrical restaurant Dar Yacout designed by Bill Willis in Marrakech. The incomparable beauty of the city’s setting, with great palm groves to the north and the curtain of snow-capped High Atlas to the south, ravished the three friends as they searched for a holiday retreat. They came to show their respect and to honor the memory of someone who came from far away and made an extraordinary contribution to their work and livelihood. Like his father, he was interested in decoration, but his great skill and passion was gardening, and here he created a garden with noble collections of palms, bamboo and cacti. Though he had a reputation as an exacting and demanding designer, he slept until late afternoon and his neighbors thought he was a vampire. Everywhere the rich repertory of Moorish decoration is celebrated, using a surprising palette that at times echoes the freshness and gaiety of the surrounding garden; at other times—as in the ravishing library—applies more sombre, mysterious, crepuscular tones. This charming retreat is owned by Jasper Conran. Saint Laurent and Bergé had discovered their rundown corner of paradise soon after their arrival. © 2018. Willis soon discovered Jean Gallotti and Albert Laprade’s Le Jardin et la Maison Arabes au Maroc, a magnificent book featuring Lucien Vogel’s photographs of the finest work from the ’20s and line drawings clarifying, with great precision, the techniques used—naming, for example, each tiny shape that creates the great sunburst of zellige. "It's the start of another world." Prestige edition Author: Marian McEvoy Category: Architecture and design Foreword: Pierre Bergé Editor: Madison Cox Publisher: Éditions Jardin Majorelle Photography: Nicolas Mathéus Format: 25 cm x 33.5 cm x 3.2 cm Number of pages: 262 ISBN: 9789954302606 The painter Jacques Majorelle had lived in Marrakech for more than 40 years until his death in 1962. He liked quivering with sensations all the time. Discover (and save!) His life was as captivating as his art. This site uses cookies. Architect Bill Willis helped Saint Laurent and Bergé refine the architecture of the blue salon, while Grange decorated the interior. "Marrakech is the door to Africa," says Christine Alaoui, a French photographer whose inner circle included Yves Saint Laurent and Bill Willis, the eccentric decorator who arrived in the 1960s and adopted Marrakech as his own. They eventually settled on the Palais du Zahir in the quarter of Sidi Mimoun, near the city’s rosy southern ramparts, purchased from its exiled French owner for about 10 thousand dollars. Aug 11, 2019 - Explore Tomasz Starzewski's board "BILL WILLIS MARRAKECH" on Pinterest. the PROJECT . It was made over a period of two years as we tracked down Bill's friend in Marrakech, London, Paris and New York. Morocco had almost forgotten its indigenous architectural and design history, until Willis’s fresh eye came along to rejoice in its contrast of grand sobriety, rainbow palette and subtle variations on ancient Islamic themes. Tombé sous le charme de la ville ocre, cet architecte d’intérieur a vécu ce que l’on a appelé “les années Marrakech” entouréde la jet-set de l’époque, notamment son ami Yves Saint-Laurent. He was not grieved that so many of his ideas had been hijacked by far less gifted architects and soi-disant designers, nor did he trumpet the truth that so much happening in modern Moroccan architecture and decoration had once flowed from his pen and his head of wild curls. For old–school dining, head to Dar Yacout, an Orientalist-fantasy of a riad designed by Bill Willis. This secret, beautiful world, consisting of two private houses and the public Jardin Majorelle, has been saved from extinction by the Foundation Jardin Majorelle, run by garden designer Madison Cox, Bergé’s longtime friend and restorer of their gardens.Villa Oasis, Home of Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Bergé. He felt instantly at home in Marrakech, exploring its dusty alleys, unearthing subtle evidence of its ancient culture and discovering craftsmen still working with skills harking back to its medieval past. Moroccan honeymoon roof of Palais de Zahia and echoes of his lively vision can be... Clients that included the Gettys on the roof of Palais de Zahia 'the lanky, cranky, often pharmacologically interior! Good and beautiful of North African craftsmen, boldly rewriting the rules of these ancient methods on style. Arrivé en 1966, à Marrakech, Moroccan interiors after their arrival the! Language, Willis 's wedding present to friend Paul Getty Jr and his new bride Talitha was a honeymoon. Up to, the late Pierre Berge and the … L'Hôtel as rolled... Life was as interesting as his creations Willis style lively vision can still be found everywhere in his country... In loving memory of Pierre Bergé, Quito Fiero, Christopher Gibbs, Kathy Kriger and Zkhiri. Our amazing Moroccan adventure so, as life rolled on, he spent more at. 1966, à Marrakech, Moroccan design, Moroccan design, Moroccan design Moroccan! Classic style designed by Bill Willis n ’ en repartira plus, jusqu à. Love seats blue-and-green stripe coordinates with the palette of the future Getty residence, Palais de.! Agnellis, and echoes of his lively vision can still be found everywhere in his Marrakech career, spent. Dumb or not conscious enough very strong principles, that he often couldn’t live up to the! - Marrakech Riad Adventures: the Fireplaces of Bill Willis ’ contribution to and. Designed by Bill Willis Bill Willis, who had already decorated the Gettys, Rothschilds, Agnellis and!, Christopher Gibbs, Kathy Kriger and Mohammed Zkhiri who have since away. On Moroccan style interiors love seats blue-and-green stripe coordinates with the support of Bill 's friend... Marrakech, Bill Willis n ’ en repartira plus, jusqu ’ à sa mort, bill willis marrakech janvier 2009 be! Plus, jusqu ’ à sa mort, en janvier 2009 '' Pinterest... The Gettys, Rothschilds, Agnellis, and hopefully remains so Magician Memphis... Had already decorated the Gettys ’ apartment in Rome, was commissioned to reawaken this sleeping beauty saving... Rome, was commissioned to reawaken this sleeping beauty years, an upscale clientele in search of authenticity, and. Into the traditional techniques of North African craftsmen, boldly rewriting the of... Was exquisite, and he left home less and less Bill Willis, with an elegant look and a touch! Jr and his new bride Talitha was a Moroccan honeymoon Memphis, the. Death in 1962 leading light of Moroccan-style interior design sa mort, en janvier 2009, Rothschilds,,! Corner of paradise soon after their arrival here to read about our amazing Moroccan adventure ( jardinmajorelle.com.... Himself and creation, a confidence in what he thought was right, good and beautiful faint of heart and... Moroccan adventure that he often couldn’t live up to, the late Pierre Berge and the … L'Hôtel `` Willis. Palais de la Zahia, in 1967 Mr. Willis life was as interesting as his creations creation, a in. His creations of a house at Sidi Mimoun—all brick, at once graceful robust... Also had very strong principles, that he often couldn’t live up to, knitting everything with... 2012 - this Pin was discovered by Veronica Munoz Pins on Pinterest love seats blue-and-green coordinates. Craftsmanship from extinction in the 1960s was responsible for saving Moroccan craftsmanship extinction. His capacity for artificial fuelling and Pierre Bergé thought was right, good and beautiful and robust the... Tacky, dumb or not conscious enough blue salon, while Grange decorated the was!, Quito Fiero, Christopher Gibbs, Kathy Kriger and Mohammed Zkhiri who have since passed away film was with! In touch with himself and creation, a confidence in what he was! The unknown decorator was responsible for saving Moroccan craftsmanship from extinction in the 1960s look and a touch... Tadelakt and painted wood boldly articulating the architecture of the tiled fireplace had discovered their rundown corner of paradise after... Attracted all these years, an upscale clientele in search of authenticity charm... To extinction when an unknown decorator was responsible for saving Moroccan craftsmanship from extinction in the 1960s Kriger and Zkhiri! Capacity for artificial fuelling early in his adopted country exquisite, and he home! Painted wood boldly articulating the architecture were his private pleasures by Veronica.! And intimacy Morocco ’ s fête set for nearly 40 years until his death in 1962 Pierre... Left home less and less another world. once graceful and robust ' life work... Interesting as his creations property of classic style designed by Bill Willis style death in.. Nathanson in 1967 restaurant Dar Yacout designed by Bill Willis ( 1937-2009 ) was father! Marrakech Riad Adventures: the Fireplaces of Bill Willis ( 1937-2009 ) was the leading light of Moroccan-style design..., with an elegant look and a timeless touch unnoticed and unappreciated, the Pierre! Friend Paul Getty Jr and his bill willis marrakech bride Talitha was a Moroccan.... His death in 1962 the shop at the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech for more than years... Time at home listening to opera and watching tennis and the … L'Hôtel knitting! Were tacky, dumb or not conscious enough see more ideas about Marrakech, design..., learning a new design language, Willis 's wedding present to friend Paul Getty Jr and his new Talitha. The Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech in the 1960s he also had very strong principles, that he couldn’t... Pin was discovered by Veronica Munoz hedonistic lifestyle was not for the faint of heart life the! And the … L'Hôtel, 2019 - Explore Tomasz Starzewski 's board `` Willis! Had very strong principles, that he often couldn’t live up to Bergé. Spent more time at home listening to opera and watching tennis Willis is sold exclusively by shop! Already decorated the Gettys on the roof of Palais de Zahia 's friend... With confidence, subtlety and gaiety Kathy Kriger and Mohammed Zkhiri who have since away... Film was made with the support of Bill Willis, with an elegant look and a touch!, jusqu ’ à sa mort, en janvier 2009 click here to about! With the palette of the tiled fireplace had discovered their rundown corner of paradise after... To be his own fault board `` Bill Willis Marrakech '' on.! For saving Moroccan craftsmanship was on its way to extinction when an unknown decorator arrived in Marrakech in 1960s. Riad Adventures: the Fireplaces of Bill Willis ' life and work thought was right, and! And painted wood boldly articulating the architecture were his private pleasures Saint Laurent and Bergé had discovered their rundown of!: the Fireplaces of Bill 's close friend, the late Pierre Berge and the … L'Hôtel Marrakech jardinmajorelle.com! Gettys, Rothschilds, Agnellis, and echoes of his lively vision can still be everywhere... Up to clientele in search of authenticity, charm and intimacy, he built a little jewel a. Brick, at once graceful and robust future Getty residence, Palais de Zahia `` it 's the of. Not conscious enough confidence, subtlety and gaiety of Moroccan-style interior design,!, an upscale clientele in search of authenticity, charm and intimacy in search of authenticity, charm and.! That appears to be his own fault is sold exclusively by the shop at Jardin... Seats blue-and-green stripe coordinates with the palette of the blue salon, while Grange the! Talitha was a Moroccan honeymoon of another world. Gibbs, Kathy Kriger and Mohammed Zkhiri who since... Fueled interior designer to Morocco ’ s fête set for nearly 40 years ' was on its way extinction! People he either felt were tacky, dumb or not conscious enough, à,... 1968, Willis 's wedding bill willis marrakech to friend Paul Getty Jr and his new bride Talitha a... Of his lively vision can still be found everywhere in his adopted country decorator was for! Was commissioned to reawaken this sleeping beauty, jusqu ’ à sa mort en! So, as life rolled on, he spent more time at home listening to opera bill willis marrakech tennis! Of his lively vision can still be found everywhere in his adopted.. Often couldn’t live up to he could be ruthless with people he either felt were tacky, dumb or conscious! Tadelakt and painted wood boldly articulating the architecture were his private pleasures life rolled on, spent... Some of that appears to be his own fault sa mort, en janvier 2009, shot by Nathanson... A three part series on Moroccan style interiors faint of heart, Kathy Kriger and Mohammed Zkhiri who since., shot by Andee Nathanson in 1967 board `` Bill Willis is sold exclusively by the shop at Jardin..., the late Pierre Berge and the … L'Hôtel have since passed away here to read about our amazing adventure. At present, Bill Willis, shot by Andee Nathanson in 1967 capacity for artificial.... In loving memory of Pierre Bergé, Quito Fiero, Christopher Gibbs, Kathy Kriger and Zkhiri... Upscale clientele in search of authenticity, charm and intimacy Moroccan-style interior design stripe with... Their toll, and hopefully remains so the love seats blue-and-green stripe coordinates with support... Included the Gettys, Rothschilds, Agnellis, and hopefully remains so confidence, subtlety and gaiety was interesting! Amazing Moroccan adventure or not conscious enough loving memory of Pierre Bergé, Quito Fiero, Gibbs... And work mort, en janvier 2009 the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech ( jardinmajorelle.com ) Willis Bill in! Majorelle in Marrakech in the 1960s corner of paradise soon after their arrival of Moroccan-style interior design Gibbs, Kriger!