The creatives to know in Marrakech

Samuel and Caitlin Dowe-Sandes at Popham DesignJack johns

Samuel and Caitlin Dowe-Sandes

The husband and wife duo first arrived in Marrakech from Los Angeles for a year off from their film and PR career, but ended up buying a house in the medina because they couldn’t find anything else. rent to their liking. “We had never seen Moroccan craftsmanship,” Caitlin recalls, “but gradually we got to know the makers, and when it came to replacing the tiles in the house, we thought we Maybe we could apply our own ideas to the technique. ‘ Three early patterns emerged – curl, wink, and zigzag – that were so striking that a friend asked if the pair would be up for a magazine photoshoot. When the fact-checker called to ask who to award the tiles to, they quickly set up a business and website to coincide with the release, and Popham Design, which now supplies tiles to hotels, restaurants and homes around the world, was born. “Because we are here in the field, we were able to be very responsive and carry out small tailor-made projects, which makes it very special. It’s a fun point of distinction, ”Caitlin says. Today, the couple offers over 150 designs in over 150 colors, resulting in almost endless configurations, as well as a collection of brass lighting and a backgammon board – the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.

Laurence Leenaert

Belgian-born artist Leenaert is well established in the vernacular of contemporary Moroccan design through Lrnce, which produces ceramics decorated with bold and flowing geometric patterns spotted in cult Menorca Experimental hotels in Parilio on Paros, Greece. But with a new set of paintings, she turns to another discipline. Her space in Sidi Ghanem, which opened in early 2020, spans two floors and a rooftop that serves as a studio, showroom and event hub, where clients can come by appointment to see works like her. Sound of the sun series – an interpretation of city life. “My framed pieces start out as sketches of rugs and blankets,” she says. “I always draw lines, I cut things out or I integrate elements according to what I see around me. For its latest range of ceramics, it has teamed up with master craftsmen from Safi known for their pottery. The addition of textured grooves meant they took three times longer to produce than her hand painted line, but the approach lends a sculptural element to each object that makes them as worthy of the term art as any. of his other creations.

Shrimp dish at Azalai, where the bowl is also on saleJack johns

Khouloud Belkahia

The Azalai Urban Souk restaurant and shop was founded just as Marrakech entered lockdown. Having previously run a small group of boutique hotels with her ex-husband, Belkahia understood that “people have a great sensitivity to detail – a value that is not necessarily about material value, but rather emotional value, a detail. who has a story to tell. ‘With her passion for food, she offers handcrafted tableware such as flat-top tagines and three-legged mugs. This is paired with a healthy Moroccan menu that transforms flavors and authentic techniques in dishes that embody the way we eat now: bowls of quinoa instead of couscous topped with avocado and chermoula shrimp, and decadent gluten-free baked goods.

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Car at Popham Design WorkshopJack johns
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Snacks served on an Azalai hammered platterJack johns
Home goods at Azalai Urban SoukJack johns
Storefront at Norya AryonJack johns
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Metalworker in the medinaJack johns
Palm tree at duskJack johns
Pigeons in the main square with the Kutubiyya Mosque in the distanceJack johns

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