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Inside the new 14-room boutique hotel in Marrakech, Izza

There is an alchemy of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary art within the walls of this destination

Courtesy of Felix Speller IZZA

Compared to the frenetic nature of Marrakech’s medina, where the air is filled with the murmur of vendors and the beeps of mopeds zigzagging through the narrow streets, Izza feels like a breath of fresh air, a garden of peace that transports you from the noise and engulfs you in an inner labyrinth guided by art.

Courtesy of Felix Speller IZZA

In the mid-20th century, the Red City became a hub for hedonistic intellectuals and creative freedom seekers seeking a colorful, bohemian lifestyle. Among them was Bill Willis, one of Marrakech’s most famous architects and a renowned socialite, who visited the city with John Paul Getty Jr. Willis fell so deeply in love with Marrakech’s dynamism that he decided to move there. spend the rest of his life, living in a property just a few blocks from the recently opened Izza. Very quickly, he became the leading figure in Moroccan-style interior design, bringing to life many of the city’s important homes, including Villa Oasis by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé and Dar Zuylen by Guy and Marie-Hélène of Rothschild.

Courtesy of Felix Speller IZZA

Willis’ signature has become a fusion of modernist principles with a deep appreciation of traditional Moroccan elements ranging from flamboyant tiles and carved woodwork, to majestic fireplaces and locally sourced materials to support local craftsmanship. Nods to this style are evident throughout Izza, both figuratively and literally, complemented by a mix of vintage, traditional and contemporary art. Bill’s Bar is perhaps one of the most notable tributes to the architect, with a number of objects and stories from the notorious socialite’s life hanging on the walls, as well as a trompe-l’être floor. the eye (which mirrors that of Rick’s Bar featured in the film Casablanca) and tadelakt walls that replicate those found in Willis’ house.

Courtesy of Felix Speller IZZA

In every corner of the hotel, the design seamlessly blends traditional Moroccan craftsmanship (evidenced in the beautiful brass lighting, finely hand-cut zellige tiles and ornately woven rugs) with vintage and mid-century Italian furniture. century. Concerning the latter, elegant Murano chandeliers from the 1950s adorn the rooms. Each of the fourteen rooms, named after and inspired by Moroccan counterculture icons of the past, retain this concept while embodying their own identity.

Courtesy of Felix Speller IZZA

Art is at the heart of the hotel: both a source of inspiration and vision for the future, but also a means of supporting and encouraging emerging artists and creatives. It is enriched with a collection of 300 works of art worth more than five million dollars, serving as a “museum in the medina”. The gallery consists of contemporary Moroccan works as well as one of the largest physical collections of digital and generative art from around the world. Venturing into space is a fascinating experience. There we find large format photographs from the famous series “Les Marocains” by Leila Alaoui, nine “animated portraits” by the Ethiopian artist Yatreda, a magnificent AI creation by Refik Anadol displayed on a two-meter screen and inspired by millions of images captured by Mars. Orbiter Reconnaissance Telescope, as well as 24 photographs from Sebastian Salgado’s evocative “Amazonia” series.

Led by Chef Ahmad El Hardoum, the hotel’s terrace restaurant also embraces the coexistence of tradition and contemporary. It is an ode to Moroccan cuisine revisited with European and Mediterranean influences. The menu consists of sharing plates balancing seasonal vegetables, meats and fish of local origin.

Courtesy of Felix Speller IZZA

It took eight years to complete Izza, but that’s not surprising given all the interconnected elements that work together like pieces of a puzzle. The result is a complete image where every attribute has been placed exactly where it is supposed to be.

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