The Dubai office of Wilson Associates was appointed as the interior design firm for the beach-facing Marriott Taghazout Bay hotel in Agadir, Morocco, which is set to open in late 2019.
The hotel is being launched as part of the Moroccan National Tourism Strategy Vision 2020. This aims to double the number of people visiting the North African country and hopes to attract a further one million travellers from emerging markets.
“The client wanted to have a contemporary, innovative hotel, with very little inspiration from traditional Moroccan architecture, as the client expects most of the guests to be Moroccans on a getaway trip,” says Maud Capet, Wilson Associates’ senior designer on the project.
“It was important to make sure that the hotel offers a different atmosphere from the typical hotels you can find in Morocco, and allows guests to feel like they have run away from their day-to-day routines. The design plan was to integrate the DNA of Moroccan interiors in a contemporary manner. By using raw, unexpected materials, and elements of Moroccan craftsmanship, we have achieved a stylish interior with a local flair,” Capet remarks.
The design of the hotel is primarily inspired by the natural landscape of Taghazout Bay. Capet says the rough-looking Taghazout Bay “conceals extraordinary richness, such as argan trees, superb soil, and an incredible array of fossils.”
“The design team was inspired by the wild nature of Taghazout Bay. The design draws inspiration from the raw, natural beauty of the area, such as the large thorns of the acacia trees,” she notes.
The hotel’s interiors have used a soft colour palette to denote the surrounding natural landscape, while Moroccan handicrafts and other contemporary pieces provide warming tones that help to accentuate the ocean-facing property’s look and feel.
“The essence of the design captures the exquisite rawness and beauty of the surrounding natural landscape with a soft colour palette, and warm accents for contemporary units. Throughout the interior, there is a deliberate spotlight on origin and craftsmanship where a few carefully chosen accessories or details provide the right warmth,” comments Capet.
“This concept is also applicable to the selected finishes, such as the raw textures of the stone walls and wood cladding, the furniture, fixtures and equipment, as well as the way we choose to apply them and position them.”
One of the main aims of the design plan was to create a seamless indoor-outdoor transition for guests visiting the warm and beautiful hotel. As with much of the project, it took its cues from nature.
“The design intent was to stay true to the raw, natural beauty of the surrounding nature, and our goal was to conceive complete design integrity between the outdoors and indoors. The idea was to keep spacious spaces where the guest could travel from indoors to outdoors without interruptions,” comments Capet.
This was achieved through a plan to “integrate a part of the inspirational outdoor nature within the hotel” which subsequently proved to be one of the main challenges for the project.
“In the main lobby, the design team coordinated with the architect to integrate a 5m by 8m winter garden, which opens up to the sky. The coordination between architecture and interior was primordial to achieve the seamless flow between the outdoor and indoor spaces. The winter garden, situated at the lobby area, was a challenge to coordinate due to different structural and architectural constraints,” explains Capet. The winter garden was “key to a successful seamless flow from the interiors to exteriors, without falling into the overused concept of open plan” she says.
A variety of textures have been used in the interiors to further reflect Taghazout Bay’s natural environment. “We chose finishes that guests can touch and feel, evoking an emotional response associated from the outdoors. The use of reclaimed wood and textured stones has become a strong component for the project,” comments Capet.
The interiors have been designed to be both stylish and relaxing, and materials used in the design process include wood, stone, cotton, wire, and straw. “One of the highlights of the project is the use of natural textures from stones and woods, as well as details from Moroccan craftsmanship, which are integrated in a stylish and relaxing interior. The design seeks to strike a balance between cues inspired by nature and crafted details integrated within the interior spaces,” she says
“Stylish pieces, handmade objects, and curious treasures create a fresh and vibrant ambiance — together with accents of exposed stone walls, timber decks and pergolas,” she added.
When it comes to lighting, the approach in design was similar to the rest of the interior. “The lighting selection is a mix between minimalist elements and some very textured and detailed chandeliers. [Lighting design company] PSlab worked in very close coordination with our studio to carry the same design language of the interior. Most of the feature lighting pieces were bespoke by PSlab in coordination with our design team. To have the right balance between minimalism and craftsmanship, we introduced a few pieces from the local artisans with raw materials and crafted elements.”
The guest rooms at the hotel also mix minimalism with rich textures and handcrafted details, while not allowing anything to become overbearing. “The rooms are bright and strewn with woven straw poufs, rough woven throws, retro wire chairs, as well as raw cotton. Clean-lined furniture combines with rough natural textures and exotic accessories to create the perfect down-time sanctuary,” says Capet.