Tucked into the in the ancient Mouassin Quarter of Marrakesh is Riad Joya, a brand new 7-suite boutique hotel. The hotel is built to resemble a traditional riad, which is a square architectural layout with a small garden courtyard in the center and traditional Moroccan architectural detailing throughout the estate. Joya brought on design Renaissance man Umberto Branchini Maria who has ventured in successful careers in jewelry design, fashion design, and fashion design for big namers such as Montblanc, Hugo Boss and Bulgari.
Branchini approached the interior design with a desire to represent the different cultural influences and exchanges that Morocco has had in its history. Inhabited since prehistoric times by the Berbers, Morocco experienced the colonization of different peoples as the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines and finally the Arabs. Moroccan Riads, indeed, have a similar structure to that of the classical Roman, Greek and Ottoman houses with a typical open central courtyard.
The architectural elements that distinguish the courtyard of Joya and which component its design are: four Doric columns made of travertine, a Menazeh with its characteristic wooden inlaid grill maharabyya, typical of the harems, a classical style central fountain and a pair of deco’ lanterns. The color pallet came from the colors of natural pigment and the sand-coloured walls and the typical tadelack stuccos from various pastel shades of light are combined with unique furniture and objects created from the drawings of Umberto Branchini and exclusively conceived for Riad Joya.
The materials used are simple and natural: cedar wood, iron, bronze, burlap, terracotta, natural linen, linen gauze, rope, satin cotton and silk velvet. Each area within the property presents a distinctive style and has a specific cultural reference to the history or to the old traditions of Morocco.
The result is a unique environment, which, through its objects, embodies the eclecticism of a journey between east and west, blending colonial elements with the Arabic mood and taste. Hence, the raw wood chairs of Louis XV shape are covered with burlap and mixed with drops of precious alabaster and Turkish lanterns of blown glass; some of the iron and wood furnishings is covered with hand woven rope to evoke African lands; the pottery in neutral colours and gradations of light and shadow suggest the antique shapes of the Berber art. All is perfectly blended together to create a sophisticated and “metaphysical” environment in which to relax, while enjoying the typical ambience of a private residence.
Courtesy of Knstrct