The Majorelle Garden in Marrakech, Morocco previously the Jardin Bou Saf, bears its name from its original creator, Jacques Majorelle, the French expatriate artist who was born in Nancy France in 1886. Jacques Majorelle was the son of the celebrated Art Nouveau furniture designer Louis Majorelle. In 1947 he opened his gardens to the public and during this time also painted a magnificent ceiling space at La Mamounia, a five-star hotel with gardens and the place where Alfred Hitchcock wrote, “The Birds.”
Jacques Majorelle studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nancy in 1901 and later in 1919 he went to Marrakech, Morocco to recover from heart problems. He built the garden during those years using a special color of blue which he used extensively in the garden that is named after him, Majorelle Blue. Jacques Majorelle returned to France in 1962 after a car incident and died later that year of complications from his injuries. As a collector of unique plants from five continents Jacque Majorelle left to Saint Laurent one of the more unique collections of flora and fauna of this era as well as a place of inspiration and contemplation. While Morocco is no longer a French protectorate, this originally French creation is one of the most beloved landmarks in Morocco.
The power of the blue Majorelle is long-lived and permeates the essence of what it means to live and see color in Marrakech.
During a visit to the Majorelle Gardens, it is important to start touring early as to take advantage of the optimal morning light. The atmosphere of the Majorelle Gardens evokes a sense of peace in a garden designed, composed, and colored like a painting. Moorish and Art Deco-inspired structures with their bold color palettes are assembled among a vast, opulent array of exotic plants and trees collected from the far reaches of the world.
The courageous use of color, the famous Majorelle blue paint used in his architectural design enlivens the garden and acts as a strong backdrop to his plant collection of over 1800 types of cacti, 400 species of palms and other rare varieties of the time. This bold action revolutionized the way in which gardens were to be viewed. The blue pavilion with a raised island set amidst water lilies is the most famous photographed section of the garden. An elaborate system of water canals connect the planted areas and infuse the garden with its sight and sound. The contrasting effects of light and shadow are repeatedly played against each other capturing the harsh sunlight and transforming it into a tamed element that defies any known example. Majorelle’s greatest work of art is his garden.
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