I have taken the liberty of transcribe the flyer “ABOUT EL FENN” the managing partner Willem Smit recently gave to me. It is the best way to show this Marrakech highlight.
“We call El Fenn a home from home because that is what we wanted to create from the first day we opened our doors fourteen years ago.
Since then we’ve added rooms, knocked down walls, hosted art festivals and film screenings, huge parties and memorable weddings but that one core value of what we’re here to do has remained. Now, more than ever, we want to retain El Fenn’s intimacy and friendliness.
Because our lives are increasingly time poor as the world keeps getting busier. And while we’ve seen Marrakech grow and expand over the years since we opened – donkeys and carts replaced by scooters that buzz and smartphones that ping – the medina is also immutable: ancient, atmospheric and inspiring. We want you to make the most of that while you’re here.
That’s why there are no TVs but instead lots of spaces to relax in. Please do make the most of them to read, sleep or sip a mint tea and listen to the muezzin’s call to prayer as the sun sets.
Then, once your energy levels are reset, we urge you to venture out a little further and see what you find – or finds you – in the beautiful city of Marrakech.
There’s a saying in Morocco that you don’t choose a house, a house chooses you. And we feel incredibly lucky that El Fenn happened to choose us. It is a place that we hold deep in our hearts and it gives us great pleasure to be able to share it with you”.
see more at https://el-fenn.com/
Mask made by the Fang, given in 1905 to Maurice Vlaminck whom sold it to Andre Derain. It was seen also by Picasso and Matisse. This was not the first African sculpture to attract Valminck, but it appears to be the only one from this time wich is still certainly identificable.
Jujus are a fetish piece of art for most interior designers around the globe and one of the best kept secrets and they are used as a visual attraction. Due to this fact, jujus have achieved great popularity.
Designs with juju hats provide texture to walls with an exceptional touch of glamour due to the natural feathers of birds.
Depending on the season, you can combine jujus in different areas of your house. If you wish to use them for a wall composition, you can use vivid and bright colours in summer. In winder choose neutral tones and jujus with natural feathers at any time.
You can also try with a sequence of progressive colours and include bicolour or multicoloured jujus.
The main colour of juju has to match with the colour of some decorative element found in the area. On the walls painted with dark colours you can use light and white jujus.
You can decorate the living room, entrance hall, dining rooms, bedrooms, kitchen or bathroom. They can also be placed outdoors (if you avoid exposure to high temperatures).
The city of 333 saints takes its name from Tamasheq ‘tin’ or ‘tim’ Buktu, wich means the well of buktu, the name of the guardian of the place who saw the touaregs arrive in the 11th century. This place is still visible in the city amongst other architectural treasures to discover.
A good way of recognising new arrivals to a city is, if you are travelling alone, is a muted anger whereas if you are travelling in company, this takes the form of an open argument.
Distrust, doubts, the relative nature of what one takes as read at a few hours’ distance, undermine the bemused and weary traveller’s patience.
Perhaps it is in these moments when the journey reveals itself to the traveller.
For a long time I warned that there was no tourist who was not a traveller
Later on, after travelling for many years, I reached the conclusion that this dichotomy did not go beyond the mind of the person in question. How would a mursi distinguish this?
I fear that wherever one is travelling, the most likely thing is that most people do not manage, rightly so, to distinguish you from a bog-standard group of tourists.
Let’s live with this
The exotic dramatic quality of Arabic decoration is extraordinary. A means of escape from the industrialised western decoration so overly confused as to what it aims to aspire to in terms of luxury and the limitation of its resources to serialised, repetitive and angular constructions offering furnishings with laboratory materials resulting in simply pale imitations of the past.
Nature, colour, constructive sets, exquisite materials, engaging ambiences, etc. all of these attract us the decoration projected through magazines as samples of a new luxury concept.
However, is Arabic decoration truly Arabic? Contemporary Arabic culture does not offer, except on rare occasions, any of these aesthetic principles. Even its aspiration is to foolishly mock western standards adding a further over-top-touch, ostentatiousness and bad taste.
In truth that sample of an aesthetic universe based on traditional Arabic culture has been recreated by western foreigners (refined and well-to-do foreign with new horizons free from the inherent atavisms of the west).
Even the recovery of traditional trade, handicrafts and pieces form part of this trend. There is still room for many unanswered questions on philosophical, political, anthropological and religious grounds, although there is plenty of time for them to be asked. The idea has been thrust forward; Arabic decoration is in fact European decoration.
It is worthwhile underlining that this is no way conditions the enjoyment and delight we take from a truly fascinating decorative model that is destined to make us reconsider interior design in the west.
I have tried all types, A4 size, A5 size, pamphlet size, hardback or paperback, with plain or lined pages… After so many trips these notepads form part of my personal memoirs just like any iconic travelling legend (Marco Polo, Ibn Batuta…)
Therein we find the greatest distractions that the traveller’s mind conjures up during the abundant moments of calmness and reflexion as well as mundane entries such as daily expenses.
Air transport’s demands often require mobile phones to be turned off and therefore it is not possible to have internet access. I must confess that after cursing the universe for wasting a few minutes waiting that could have used to check the mail and carry out the usual emergency tasks, I end up thanking this situation because it forces me to face a naked and virgin time which I am usually no longer accustomed.