A Vibrant Celebration of Moroccan Design
In February, the hotelier Philomena Schurer Merckoll toasted her new creative showcase, Design Marrakech, with a gathering at her guesthouse, Riad Mena.
In the hour before dinner, as she waited for the rain to pass in a salon off the courtyard, Schurer Merckoll focused her attention on hanging a textile-and-paint canvas by the Marrakesh-based Belgian artist and designer Laurence Leenaert. "Art is well celebrated in Marrakesh," said Schurer Merckoll, who has long supported local artists through the riad, and more recently through its newly opened store, the Pink Door. "But I've always been surprised more attention isn't paid to the city's craft and design heritage, because I know so many designers who come here to be inspired. I wanted to provide a platform for that." That platform is Design Marrakech, an event Schurer Merckoll conceived of and launched this year - and which she was celebrating with the night's dinner. The showcase will run alongside the contemporary African art fair 1-54 each February and will give up-and-coming designers the opportunity to exhibit their work across Mena's three ground-floor salons.