Catherine Scotto is the author of a new book from Prestel and Rizzoli called “Morocco: Destination of Style, Elegance and Design.” She’s the former editor-in-chief at Elle Décoration, and is now freelancing for the press and publishing. A+A recently interviewed her via email about the book, which features her words and photos by Nicolas Mathéus.
La Martinière commissioned the book and I was not sure to do it because of a double challenge: First, almost everything had already been done on the art of living and Moroccan creation, and it seemed difficult to me to find a new angle for the book.
And, we were in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, which made travel between France and Morocco difficult and also slowed down the development of the book. But after different research and a first contact with Umberto Pasti, I decided to embark on the adventure.
What do Moroccans mean when they say: “Here we eat with our eyes”?
Moroccan cuisine is renowned for its flavors and colors, which delight the eyes as much as the taste buds. The parallel with Moroccan interior design, mixing trends, individual tastes and vivid colors seemed obvious to me.
The scope of the book?
My goal is to make people dream and inspire the reader.
Young Moroccan designers and creators are talented and work hard to preserve artisanship and creation in their country. So I wanted to support their approach through this book. I also wanted to show a Morocco that’s off the beaten track and show spaces far from the Moroccan interiors that we usually see.
How do you describe the exterior architectural styles?
Morocco is already experiencing the consequences of climate warming: During our stay in Taroudant to produce the reports for the book, the drought killed all the olive trees, which contributed to the economy of the city and its magnificent landscapes. Today it is sheer madness to build golf courses and concrete villas in the desert, consuming the water of the local populations and poorly adapted to an increasingly arid climate. I wanted to show in this book young architects now returning to traditional building materials and techniques, such as mud brick and rammed earth, landscapers seeking to create new, water-efficient gardens using local plants.
I wanted to show simple interiors: I’m not fond of riades and villas decorated in a neo-Oriental way. This book is an inspiration for travel and holidays. We spent time in all the places with photographer Nicolas Mathéus and we chose these houses as if they were ours.
The time frame for most of the buildings in the book – and their architectural influences?
All are different and perfectly integrated into the landscape. The owners are all working for fashion or decoration but not show-off. The Farm K 33, my favorite place, is very minimalist (only one bathroom !) but it was a dream to stay there, in the middle of the desert. I am now working about a new book about French and rustic farms, so a new trend now is born.
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