Hassan Hajjaj.

Born in Larache, Morocco, in 1961, Hassan Hajjaj left Morocco for London at an early age. Heavily influence by the club, hip-hop, and reggae scenes of London as well as by his North African heritage, Hajjaj is a self-taught and thoroughly versatile artist whose work includes portraiture, installation, performance, fashion, and interior design, including furniture made from recycled utilitarian objects from North Africa, such as upturned Coca-Cola crates as stools and aluminum cans turned into lamps. Today he plays a big part in the contemporary culture of Morocco where he’s sometimes called the country’s answer to Andy Warhol.

Hassan Hajjaj

Hassan Hajjaj

I was lucky enough to see his exhibit at the Third Line Gallery in Dubai a couple of years back and I fell in love with his visually strong images at once ! His images are bright, bold and assertive, but most importantly vital. Over New Year I was in Marrakech and I of course visited his ‘Suite 208’ exhibit at the gorgeous Mamounia Hotel. Suite 208 was taken on the hotel’s patio and in the legendary Al Mamoun suite. Here, he captures intimate moments with his friends, my friend, the Moroccan stylist Amine Bendriouich was one of them ! In these photos we find a touch of fantasy, that are nourished by numerous details that are so close to Hajjaj.

Hassan Hajaj

Exhibition Suite 208 Hotel La Mamounia

Also, if in Marrakech,don’t miss the Riad Yima. Hajjaj has turned his childhood home into a shop, tearoom and gallery for his work. There is nothing like it in Marrakech ! The Riad features his artwork, furniture design and products. Fusing East and West, his works range from witty photos of Arab life to recycled furniture made from African advertising signs. And the big secret is that apart from the very original designs, if you contact them in advance, they will make you the best couscous you will ever eat, though it’s only available on Fridays…

If in NYC, Hajjaj is also represented by on of my favorite NY galleries Taymour Granhe !

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Moroccan HOMES

I live just across the strait from Morocco and Morocco is one of my absolute favorite destinations (as you probably have noticed already !). Every single time I visit, I am stunned and amazed by the beautiful Moroccan interiors and architecture. And let’s not forget the tiles !!

Characterized by intricate carvings, arched doorways, and colorful fabrics, it should come as no surprise that Moroccan interior design has become very popular around the world.

Here, for your inspiration, are a few of my favorite examples.

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Moroccan Homes

All photos via Pinterest

The eccentric and daring Tangier

Only 12 kilometrs across the strait from Spain you will find an exotic new world in a legendary North African city that has everything from cool cafés and new boutique hotels to glorious beaches, a fascinating history, and the world’s most famous kasbah.

Tangier

Tangier was a bohemian mecca in the 1960s, and now the designer crowd is flocking back. For much of the 20th century, the Moroccan city was a bohemian dream, where smugglers and spies mixed with writers, artists, musicians.

TangierIn recent years, the Kasbah has seen the birth of a number of small hotels and guesthouses created within former kasbah townhouses and palaces. The one I prefer is La Tangerina Hotel (Riad Sultan 19, Tangier, Morocco) , a bohemain hotspot, right out of a Gypset book.

TangierThe restaurant to look out for is El Morocco Club (Place Tabor, Kasbah, Tangier), it’s the latest hype place in Tangier. Located at Bab Kasbah, in a typical Moroccan dar, it is teeming with surprises. Don’t miss the man in charge, our friend Oscar Ama Badji, the coolest guy in town !

Visiting Tangier you will be struck by the number of lively cafés in the city. One of the most famous ones is Café de Paris, a great mix of locals, expats, and travelers.

TangierAnother one is the Hafa, one of my favorite places in Tangier, just a short walk from the Kasbah. The breathtaking view and the thé à la menthe make it well worth the visit.

TangierTangier has a big literary legacy so don’t miss the book shops Librairie des Colonnes and Librairie Les Insolites, they both have a fantastic choice of books from authors such as Bowles.

If you’re in Tangier for shopping, a stop at my favourite shop is a must, the incredible Bazar Tindouf, it’s a caverne d’alibaba, full of carpets, lanterns, ceramics, ancient doors and other fabulous treasures.

TangierLas chicas is a new concept shop (52 rue Kacem Guennoun, porte de la Kasbah), where traditional craft meets contemporary design. A fantastic new pearl on the market !

Tangier is a place to just meander around the tumbling streets and cafes’. It’s such a mysterious place, to understand it, you have to look behind its doors, but once you give yourself some time, you will find Tangier to be eccentric, enduring and very charming.

Tangier

The legend has it that you don’t choose Tangier, but that Tangier chooses you and Tangier chose me !

Presenting Salima Abdel-Wahab

Salima Abdel-Wahab is my latest discovery in the world of fashion and I wanted to share her with you today. She is not only a designer but also a true artist.

Salima Abdel-Wahab
Salima Abdel Wahab, Photo by Alan Keohane

For me, her clothes are like pieces of art, the way fashion should be (but very seldom is) ! The collections embody her mixed cultural background and origins. You can feel her strong personality in the clothes, like a statement of her unique style and her inner world of imagination.

Salima Abdel-Wahab

Her universe is colorful and diverse, a fantastic mixture of textures, styles and colors ! There is a feeling of bohemia and poetry in her creations, always close to nature and flowers. You leave with a sensation of strongness and of softness, both at the same time, probably a reflection of her true diversity…

Salima Abdel-Wahab

Boutique Salima Abdel-Wahab : Rue Cinema Goya -Tanger-                                             33 Rue Majorelle : 33 Rue Yves Saint Laurent – Marrakech-                                         Intensité Nomade : 139, Avenue Mohammed V – Marrakech- http://www.salimaabdelwahab.com/

The Marigold Shop

I am very happy to announce to you that I just opend my Etsy Shop called The Marigold (etsy.com/shop/TheMarigold).

Banner etsy

I will be selling vintage treasures that I scout on fleamarkets around Europe and North Africa.

I started my shop with my finds from last week in Marrakech. On my shop for the moment you can buy 2 incredible wedding rugs/blankets that can be used either as a blanket on a bed or a sofa or directly on the floor as a rug.

The wedding blankets are enjoying considerable popularity in Western interiors. Almost Modernist in their restrained aesthetics, handira are neutral in color, enlivened with rectilinear lines or boxes of texture. At the same time, the sequins lend a touch of glamour, and the texture and handmade feel of the blankets add a traditional exoticism.

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