FONDATION PIERRE BERGÉ – YVES SAINT LAURENT to open Museum in Marrakech  | Our Look at the Foundations of Fashion


In 1966 a young Yves Saint Laurent ventured to Marrakech, fell in love with the city, and transformed fashion forever via his Moroccan stoked influence. Next year Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent is paying tribute to the city that inspired the legendary French fashion designer city via opening a new Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech, which will house selections of the foundation’s impressive archives.

When Yves Saint Laurent and I discovered Marrakech in 1966, he was so moved by the place that he decided to buy a house and regularly go back there. This city deeply influenced Saint Laurent’s life and work, particularly his discovery of color. It feels perfectly natural, fifty years later, to build a museum dedicated to his oeuvre, which was so inspired by this country.

– Pierre Bergé, President of Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent

The 4,000 square meter museum, which will open in autumn of 2017, is being designed by the French architecture firm Studio KO whose founders, Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier, have also designed numerous residential and public projects such as the Villa E and Villa K in Morocco, the Chiltern Firehouse in London, and the Balmain boutique in New York.

Photo | Noël Manalili

Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier, Photo | Noël Manalili

While researching the designer’s archives in Paris, Studio KO was intrigued by the duality between curves and straight lines, and the succession of loose and clean cuts. Situated on Rue Yves Saint Laurent, adjacent to the famous Jardin Majorelle, the building is composed of cubic forms adorned with bricks, which create a pattern resembling threads of fabric. Built of terracotta, concrete and an earthen coloured terrazzo with Moroccan stone fragments, the building blends harmoniously with its surroundings. The terracotta bricks that embellish the facade are made from Moroccan earth and produced by a local supplier. The terrazzo used for the floor and facade is made using a combination of local stone and marble.

“The Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech succinctly mixes two universes which we know well, and which we both hold particularly dear: Morocco and fashion,” added Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier. Going to explain, “We have worked in this country — the same country that so profoundly inspired Saint Laurent – since the start of our careers, and we eventually opened an office here. It is a great pleasure to work alongside the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent on such an ambitious project and contribute in our own way to the legacy of the most influential fashion designer of the 20th century.”

That legacy expands inside the museum, which features a 400 m2 permanent exhibition space, showcasing Yves Saint Laurent’s work within an original scenography designed by Christophe Martin; a 150 mtemporary exhibition space, a 130-seat auditorium, a bookshop, a café-restaurant with a terrace and a research library housing 5,000 books. The library’s collection includes books on Arabic and Andalusian history, geography, literature, and poetry, as well as numerous volumes related to botany, Berber culture, Yves Saint Laurent’s oeuvre and the world of fashion.

The Studio KO architects share this passion for Marrakech. Their admiration for the region and its culture, as well as their intellectual and artistic rigour, signalled to us that they would be the perfect architects to undertake this project. Their clean, uncluttered style recalls Saint Laurent’s work, and we are delighted to be able to develop a common vision for a project of this stature, which is as emblematic as Yves Saint Laurent’s oeuvre.

– Pierre Bergé

The inauguration of the building in Marrakech will coincide with a new Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Paris. After all, Yves Saint Laurent, while globally minded and influential, was truly the byproduct of a tale of two cities.Musee-Yves-Saint-Laurent-2 Musee-Yves-Saint-Laurent-3

Design Architects | Studio KO (Karl Fournier, Olivier Marty / Project Team: Fayçal Tiaïba, Elena Jiménez Moreno, Marouane Bendahmane, Hervé Micaud, Rabia Akhal Laayoune)
Organisational architect | Claire Patteet
Exhibition room and bookshop Designer | Christophe Martin
Café designer | Yves Taralon
Auditorium and Acoustic Consultant | Theatre Project Consultant
Archives and Conservation Architect | Jean-Michel Rousseau Architectes
Conservation Consultant | X-Art Conservation préventive
Landscape Designer | Madison Cox
Lighting Engineer | I.C.O.N. Lighting
Signage | Studio Apeloig
Assistant Supervisor | Artelia
Assistant Security and Prevention Supervisor | Cabinet Pierre Zapata
Research Department | Gold Etudes
Fluid Research Firm | Omnium Technologique
Financial Management | CB Economie
Control Office | Socotec
General Building Company | Bymaro (filiale marocaine de Bouygues)