La Mamounia

La Mamounia

Architect
Jouin Manku Design Studio
Location
Marrakesh, Morocco | View Map
Project Year
2020
Category
Bars

Restaurants
Stories By
Jouin Manku Design Studio

PEDRALI
Alan Keohane
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct Name
FurniturePEDRALI
CUSTOM MADE CHANDELIERSLasvit
CUSTOM MADE LIGHTSBrossier Saderne
CUSTOM MADE FURNITURECassina Custom Interiors
ManufacturersPierre Frey

Product Spec Sheet
Furniture
CUSTOM MADE CHANDELIERS
by Lasvit
CUSTOM MADE LIGHTS
CUSTOM MADE FURNITURE
Manufacturers

La Mamounia

Jouin Manku Design Studio as Architects

The first time we visited La Mamounia, we had that strange and comforting sensation of time slowing down, of life becoming simpler. Keeping hold of that feeling, we walked around the different spaces, breathing in their potential. Our approach is simple. We put absolute trust in our intuitions, which were registering a slight imbalance of energies between the grandiose promenade – the Allée Majorelle – with its Italian bar and restaurant, and the other social venues such as the Churchill Bar and the Le Français restaurant. Strolling around and happening upon chance encounters with unusual and magical places became our scenario for this new story. “Everything must change so that everything can stay the same,” wrote Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa in The Leopard. Like a director who opens his film with a long tracking shot, where the camera plunges forwards into the view that leads towards the garden, we had the feeling of being a spectator, that everything is in place, as if it had been there forever; because it is this reassuring sensation of time standing still that calls us to peace. And yet on closer inspection, the lights have been redesigned to add a touch of warmth and modernity; in order to remain forever suspended in a present without end, La Mamounia has to reinvent itself perpetually

 

Staying at La Mamounia should be a succession of unique experiences, with the different restaurants being themain players in promoting this adventure. Each of them has its own character, all are complementary. We openedup the walls of the former Italian restaurant and transformed it into L’Asiatique by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, asensual and intimate space. The original traditional Moroccan decor merges perfectly with the spirit of the chef’scuisine. It is the furniture that makes the transition between the two worlds, with a mixture of Chinese, Japaneseand Thai influences. We gave great importance to the lighting, and Stéphane Carratero came to weave his magicso that as night falls, L’Asiatique becomes a restaurant for lovers.\

 

Nearby, the former restaurant Le Français becomes “L’Italien”, also under the management of Jean-GeorgesVongerichten. It has been enlarged, taking on the form of a winter garden. The relationship between therestaurant and the garden is absolute. The large glazed windows that enclose it open generously onto thevegetation to let in light and cool air. Sanjit and I adore Italy. We spend a lot of time there, for work as well asfor pleasure, so it was a joy to associate that great Italian combination of refinement and simplicity with the spiritof La Mamounia. The cooking takes place in front of your very eyes, which is a captivating spectacle, it is theessence of life. We placed the kitchen at the centre of the space, beneath a huge glass installation. A verdantfrieze running more than 20 metres along the back wall seems to mirror the garden, adding to a sensation ofbeing somewhere between real and unreal, the past and future. Whether for a family, couple or group of friends,“L’Italien” is a first choice for a sophisticated and relaxed occasion.

 

La Mamounia’s swimming pool is a must. It sits perfectly within the garden, with a little island that appears to floatin the middle adding an air of charming fantasy. A day spent next to the pool or in the garden is an extra gift thatLa Mamounia offers its guests. You just want to stay forever.The pool pavilion is the land of plenty; we wanted to make it a celebration of generosity and pleasure. In themiddle sits a blue ceramic fountain, around which gravitates a curving bar offering a range of temptations, eachmore appetising than the next, all beneath a vast circular chandelier made out of fabric and brass. For the bar weused one of our favourite materials, enamelled lava stone. It is indestructible and the little crackled effect coveringit gives the charm of passing time. A door opens into a new space, which Sanjit calls “the temple of sugar”.In the middle of this space sits a block of peach-coloured marble with a surface of polished, hammered copper,which displays the inventions of the world’s greatest pastry chef, Pierre Hermé.

 

After rethinking the restaurants, we turned our mind to surprises for the guests. You will have to stroll aroundto discover them. The first is on the way to the spa and occupies two spaces. It is Pierre Hermé’s salon dethé, designed around the principles of Moroccan tearooms with their banquettes facing one another along thewalls. They are orientated towards the centre of the first space, where we have installed a fountain that seemsto erupt from the marble floor. The water reflects a huge glass chandelier. It is the focal point of the salon andclearly visible from the lobby. Designing our projects, we call these types of installation “les objets extraordinaires”,extraordinary objects. Their purpose is to amaze, to catch the onlooker’s eye, to mesmerise them and incite themto come closer. As the tearoom is not on a main route through La Mamounia, we needed to create a sufficientlypowerful architectural feature to bring life to this space; this is the primary function of the luminous sculpture.

 

The experience continues in the adjoining courtyard, the Moroccan riad in all its splendour. We love this place, soquiet, so perfect in its geometry. We just added some seating and lanterns to make guests want to pause herequietly and taste one of Pierre Hermé’s creations, taking time for pleasure.

 

In the evening, a door opens into the Churchill Bar. The bar has always been here and is a landmark for regularguests. We gave it a complete redesign to make it ultra-intimate, a sanctum in smoked oak, in the middleof which is a block of sculpted black marble. Not forgetting La Mamounia’s past relationship with railways,the proportions of this space echo those of a Pullman carriage. The Churchill is also the entrance into a newprovision: the cinema. We really indulged ourselves in conceiving the dream experience, mixing culture andcomfort. We can’t wait for another viewing of The Man Who Knew Too Much, which Hitchcock filmed right here.

 

We now turn to the enoteca and the tents. These are new arrivals to La Mamounia and a big surprise for theguests. The tents form a transition zone between the swimming pool and L’Italien. Slightly raised to sit back frompassage, comfortably installed and protected from the sun, guests can spend a special moment here. You cantake lunch, or just read a book. Victor Hugo’s poem La Sieste, perhaps?One of these tents takes the visitor to the Enoteca. You descend down into the ground to a trove where thetreasures discovered by the sommeliers of La Mamounia have been stored. A beautiful table in stone andlava stone sits beneath a large opening in the roof, from which light is diffused through a chandelier of cords,illuminating the liquids to reveal their secrets. This work is typical of the exceptional skill of the Moroccancrafts men, which we have carried through into the 21st century. The fundamental ambition of this project is thatLa Mamounia should be the living example of the continued reinvention of a culture.

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La Mamounia: The Magical atmosphere of Arabian Nights

PEDRALI as Furniture

Ester collection by Pedrali, designed by Patrick Jouin, selected for the iconic hotel in Marrakech

Located in the heart of Marrakech, La Mamounia is one of the most iconic sites in the imperial city. Developed on a surface area of eight hectares, it is characterised by a large garden full of citrus trees, secular olive trees, rose bushes, cactuses, bougainvilleas, fig and banana trees. An exotic, luxurious and refined place whose history dates back to the XVIII century, when King Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah offered his four sons, as a wedding gift, a house and a garden located outside the Kasbah. The most famous was the one offered to prince Mamoun, who used to hold extraordinary garden parties, and inspired the name “La Mamounia”. The hotel attracted many famous people over the years, including Winston Churchill, who defined it as “one of the most beautiful places in the world”.

Recently, the iconic five-star hotel known as the “Grande Dame”, underwent an important restyling project designed by Jouin Manku studio. Its new look enriches the timeless charm of this place, while adding a touch of modernity. They tell: “The first time we visited La Mamounia, we had that strange and comforting sensation of time slowing down, of life becoming simpler. Keeping hold of that feeling, we walked around the different spaces, breathing in their potential. Strolling around and happening upon chance encounters with unusual and magical places became our scenario for this new story". The acclaimed duo composed by designer Patrick Jouin and architect Sanjit Manku gave greater dynamism to the hotel, by introducing new convivial spaces and environments, mainly dedicated to food & beverage. The many bars and restaurants are in fact the main characters, each with its own distinctiveness.

Ester collection by Pedrali, designed by Patrick Jouin, was selected to furnish some of these spaces, including the Bar Marocain, the Churchill Bar and the Oenothèque. Ester is a mix of ergonomics, elegance and functionality. It is a precious monolith made of leather, complemented by refined die-cast aluminium legs. Its soft and graceful lines along with the great comfort offered by the seat made of polyurethane foam with elastic belts, distinguish the hotel interiors, while matching the oriental flair.

Close to the gardens, the Bar Marocain is a peaceful spot where the guests can take some time to relax. A big counter with metal top, recalling the local culture, welcomes Ester barstools with satin bronze frame upholstered in cognac leather, tones that reflect the essence of this place. The same barstools furnish also the Churchill bar. An intimate space, a sort of sanctum, in the middle of which is a block of sculpted black marble. The Oenothèque introduces a unique and innovative concept: it hosts a four-meter table in stone and lava stone surrounded by Ester armchairs and more than 2000 bottles of wine, lit by a chandelier of cords.

Natural materials, like stone, find place also in the pool bar, focus of the garden. An environment characterised by the charm of passing time. Step tables by Pedrali, with marble top, complete the setting.

Read story in Italiano

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