Brand Creative's futuristic nature-inspired hotel concept for Moroccan town mixes hyper-biophilic design and touchless technology
Morox is a relaxing yet surreal retreat for eco-deprived urbanites
Morocco conjures up visions of earth-coloured buildings and maze-like streets. However there's a town between Fez and Meknes called Ifrane that is unlike any typical Moroccan vision.
This is where Brand Creative's client, a privately-owned Moroccan developer, chose to site their futuristic, nature-inspired hotel, Morox.
The brief was to create a relaxing surreal retreat using hyper-biophilic design to help bring eco-deprived urbanites back to Mother Nature’s restorative properties.
With its snowbound winters and Alpine-styled architecture, the town is often referred to as 'Morocco's Switzerland,' however the name Ifrane is taken from the local Amazigh language Tamazight and means caves.
Prior to the 1930s, inhabitants of the town used to live in caves built from limestone rock. The same rock is used within the lobby as a welcoming tribute to this five-star, 100 key hotel.
Step into Morox hotel's interior to see a juxtaposition of sleek chrome pillars mixed with actual cedar tree trunks that are native to the area create an inviting futuristic forest.
Large curved fluid-like chrome installations flank the reception desk, mimicking the famous source Vitel, a beautiful collection of waterfalls that are set within Ifrane's leafy forests.
The lobby floor includes multiple layers just like the zebra-like splotches of black basalt spilt by ancient volcanoes that formed the Atlas mountain range. A café/library experience includes oversized, colourful seating set amongst sculptural chairs highlighting a whimsical, surreal quality to the panoramic scene outdoors. A classic grand piano and crystal chandelier are nods to the European undertones sometimes felt throughout the country – again lending to an “out of place” otherworldly experience.
The path from the lobby to the elevators is lined with chrome pebbles and cedar trees, accompanied by a custom abstract wallpaper designed by Moroccan artist Noureddine Daifallah. The elevators and wrap around the stairs to make a grand statement and cue the start of the futuristic nature-inspired adventure that awaits.
Once you reach room level, you are greeted by an abstracted, contemporary take on Moroccan style. Geometric multifaceted goats graze on a Berber inspired patterned floor. Faceted concrete walls line one side of the corridor to create a cave-like feel. A hammered metal ceiling is contrasted with a sleek neon zig-zag light. Once you enter the 'back to nature' suite you are met with a luxurious fire pit. The suite is divided up by a modern screen concrete patterned wall made from smart concrete and tinted glass.
A Moroccan style bath sits almost flush against the window allowing for a 'floating about the treetops”'experience.
The hotel features a spa on the rooftop of the building. The space includes meditation pods within a water feature which create a curtain of water, light and sound to conceal the pod and aid in relaxation. Living walls and suspended planters create a restorative biophilic aspect. The spa features a curved skylight, which provides the perfect place for stargazing on chilly winter nights.
Although nature and eco-therapy are at the centre of the concept, it needed to be seamlessly integrated with experience-enhancing technology. Brand Creative developed an intuitive app that allows guests to tailor their journey from pre-stay to exit. Guests are able to self-check in upon arrival, use their phone as a room key, control the room's elements and order bespoke room service – all from the app.
As Brand Creative wisely note, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, these contactless solutions are now more relevant than ever.