Luigi Irauzqui, international interior designer, lifestyle guru, globetrotter, Instagram sensation, and Style Editor for Harper’s Bazaar Interiors, shares with our ALEGRIA family the travel diaries and adventures of The Style Hunter.
Luigi’s extensive travels around the globe greatly influence and inspire his design choices for his interior design projects.
From the rich colors in the meticulously tiled streets of Morocco with its alluring interior design style characterized by vibrant colors and opulent furnishings to the laid-back, effortless, relaxed, and incredibly sophisticated beachy feel of the homes in Australia, Luigi uses his travel experiences to inspire a truly timeless and unique home for his clients worldwide: serene, colorful and eclectic yet luxurious, intimate, and inviting.
Luigi goes on to explain: “My mixed heritage is an important part of my design vision. When I travel I connect with so many different cultures and I draw from that for inspiration; and my surroundings and the countries I visit leave a deep imprint on me.
Traveling forces me to engage with a new environment and offers perspective, and puts my mind in a highly creative mode.
I have to say that traveling has always been a main source of my creativity and inspiration.
Design is the representation of personality and imagination, but culture is a major factor that contributes to my personal design aesthetic.”
Luigi travels the world in the hunt for undiscovered design treasures old and new.
For this photographic journey to the fascinating, exotic, and mystical land of Morocco, Luigi shares with us his experiences in the palace-filled, medieval cities of Marrakech and Fez while visiting the ancient streets of Roman ruins, kasbahs and the medinas looking for that hidden design treasure or fashion find.
Morocco’s rich culture is reflected in its alluring interior design style, characterized by vibrant colors, lush textiles and exquisite jewel toned light fixtures.
It is in the midst of the bold and the bright, the ornate patterns, and the vivid reds, oranges and greens that Luigi has come to this majestic land not only to find inspiration, but to find craftsmen and manufacturers to curate his new Global Home Collection.
His ultimate goal: to utilize Morocco’s old world techniques and spin a modern twist to create a contemporary cultivated product for a more global and sophisticated appeal.
This is a photographic essay and travelogue of how he went about it while visiting the most breathtaking mosques, meeting colorful local characters, and staying at palatial hotels that evoke the decadent era of years gone by.
Arriving in Marrakech, you are instantly hit with its eclectic mix of old and new. The Menara airport alone is a testament of what the city has to offer: it was here that the Sex and the City foursome landed when they arrived in Abu Dhabi (all of the scenes abroad were filmed in Marrakech and not in Abu Dhabi).
We get into our chauffeured car and head towards the city to our hotel The Selman Marrakech. Spread across 15 acres in the center of Marrakech, it is an oasis in the city: a splash of green amidst the desert landscape. With its sparkling pools and fountains it is an extraordinary hotel built to resemble Indian and Andalusian palaces.
The Berber-style interiors have been given an art nouveau twist by designer Jacques Garcia (aka the mastermind behind Hotel Costes in Paris). The entrance hall is littered with designer furnishings under a grand Turkish crystal chandelier.
Every French door opens out onto a grand patio which overlooks the longest swimming pool in Marrakech. Luxury at its maximum. And if this wasn’t enough, the Selman Marrakech houses a personal collection of the hotel’s owner, Abdeslam Bennani Smires, whose love of pedigreed thoroughbreds is reflected on the walls of the hotel’s bedrooms.
This is the perfect evening to stay in and enjoy the luxuries the hotel has to offer. The Spa, Espace Vitalité Chenot is an oasis of wellbeing, a tribute to Oriental beauty and health methods for mind, body and soul.
Later that night we were spoiled at Assyl, a restaurant inspired by Ottoman and Andalusian decadence, where we sampled the most authentic and extraordinary traditional Moroccan cuisine.
Early rising is a must in Marrakech to take advantage of the morning breeze before the temperatures start to rise.
We head to the medina (or old city) which is made up of a maze of winding streets that link the various souks (Arab bazaars) where you can pick up everything from traditional handicrafts to spices, while in Djemaa el-Fna (the main square) you’ll find vendors selling anything from Moroccan cuisine to dried fruit and nuts while street performers and animals entertain the crowds.
By day the square is a big open space: snake charmers, medicine men, magicians, gypsies with their pet monkeys.
At dusk, while the square starts to fill, it becomes a carnival of storytellers, musicians, acrobats, and entertainers.
As dusk turns into night, we move on to the rooftop terraces, filled with little restaurants for a vista of the whole square while smell of rosemary, fresh mint, freshly-ground spices like cinnamon, cumin, and coriander fill the air.
After a chilled morning by the pool, we have brunch at Le Pavillon at our hotel overlooking the magnificent pool as we witness the ballet of Arabian horses galloping in the background.
Relaxed and pampered we head back to the medina, this time it is all business.
Still more delightful smells can be found at the herbalist souks where you can get ground herbs for medicinal purposes, as well as musk and ambergris.
Beginning on the north edge, the souks at the medina are alleyway upon alleyway of tiny retail cubicles. The further in you venture the more interesting and less commercial they become. This is why and where we have come for the Making of Our Brand.
Every section of the medina has its own specialty: carpets and textiles; spices and food supplies; cotton, clothing, kaftans, and blankets.
We knew exactly where to go as we had our local guides take us exactly where we needed to go.
It’s a long day at the medina, haggling and discovering new finds in this fascinating and seductive environment.
We leave Marrakech and our uber luxurious accommodations very early for our 5 hour car ride to the city of Fez.
Fez is the second largest city in Morocco and it’s referred to as the cultural capital of the country.
It’s best known for its walled medina, Fes el Bali, with medieval architecture and old-world atmosphere. The medina is home to religious schools such as the 14th-century Bou Inania and Al Attarine. But the primary reason we are here is because of its ornate tile work.
I have forever been fascinated by the design, color and tilework of this amazingly creative city. I’ve wanted to come to Fez for as long as I can remember. There isn’t one single project in my career as an interior designer where I haven’t incorporated the colors, design and intricate tilework of this amazing and exotic city.
We visited the numerous factories where this tilework is produced and saw the process from start to finish.
We visited the Potters’ Quarter of Fes in an area known as Ain Nokbi, just outside the medina.
The most prized pottery in Morocco comes from Fez and that’s what we came for. Mission accomplished.
Finally a day to relax at the beautiful Palais Sheherazade owned by my good friend the beautiful Manal Benghazi. Pool time and the opportunity to take it all in, gather all our notes, and make some business decisions.
Five days of palaces, mosques, medinas, souks, and exotic hotels, but all in all, it was an awakening of all our senses. We take the sounds, the smells and the experiences from this extraordinary country with us and, as we board our flight back to Amsterdam, without doubting for a second that we will be back soon…real soon…
And as they say in Morocco…Salam Alikome…Peace be with you…
CASAVECCHIA Design Group
President | Creative Director
HARPER’S BAZAAR Interiors
International Style Editor
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