musée yves saint laurent marrakech: haute couture and the city, between past and future

Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech: haute couture and the city, between past and future

A new museum dedicated to the French couture icon Yves Saint Laurent has opened in Marrakech this autumn, shortly after the inauguration of the Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Paris.

The museum hosts a selection of the unique collection belonging to the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, which comprises 5,000 haute couture garments and 15,000 accessories, as well as thousands of sketches, collection boards, photographs, and other items. The Foundation was established in 2004, gathering an impressive amount of documentation, including original sketches, prototypes, warehouse records and retailing books, systematically archived by Saint Laurent since the creation of his couture house in 1961.

The building was designed by the French architectural firm Studio KO, established by Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty, and commissioned by the late Pierre Bergé, the long-time partner of Saint Laurent. Covering over 4,000 square meters, it includes a permanent exhibition space devoted to the couturier’s work and designed by Christophe Martin, as well as a hall for temporary exhibitions, a research library with over 5,000 volumes, a 150-seat auditorium, bookshop and terrace café.

The museum location, on Rue Yves Saint Laurent, is likewise significant, next to the Jardin Majorelle, a/the historic garden distinguished by exotic and rare species created by the Orientalist painter Jacques Majorelle in the 1930s, acquired and saved from demolition, along with the adjoining villa, by Saint Laurent and Bergé in 1980. Later transformed in a museum dedicated to Berber culture, the site is today a major cultural attraction in Marrakech with almost 700,000 visitors every year. Saint Laurent was enchanted by Marrakech since his first visit in the 1960s, and the city’s atmosphere, craftsmanship and colours would have a profound influence on his work.

In approaching the museum design, Studio KO drew source of inspiration by the couturier’s archives and style, particularly the succession of curved and straight lines as well as the appearance of fabric textures. The reinforced concrete structure creates clear curved and angular volumes, while the outside facing in terracotta brickwork maps out patterns recalling the fabric weft. The interior is treated differently, dominated by light, bright materials and colours.

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Studio KO


Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech (mYSLm)


Jardin Majorelle SCA


Rue Yves Saint Laurent, Arrondissement Guéliz, Marrakech, Wilaya de Marrakech, Morocco

Project Year

Design: 2014

Works: 2015 - 2017

Architecture and Design

Studio KO: Karl Fournier, Olivier Marty


Studio KO: Karl Fournier, Olivier Marty

Project Team

Team: Fayçal Tiaïba, Elena Jiménez Moreno, Marouane Bendahmane, Hervé Micaud, Rabia Akhal Laayoune

Organisational architect: Claire Patteet

Exhibition room and bookshop designer: Christophe Martin 

Café designer: Yves Taralon

Auditorium and acoustic consultant: Theatre Project Consultant

Archives and conservation architect: Jean-Michel Rousseau Architectes

Conservation consultant: X-Art Conservation preventive

Building Management

General building company: Bymaro (filiale marocaine de Bouygues)


Madison Cox

Size and total area

Total area: 3.908 m2

Usable area: 3.086 m2

Additional Functions

Lighting engineer: I.C.O.N. Lighting

Assistant supervisor: Artelia

Assistant security and prevention supervisor: Cabinet Pierre Zapata

Research department: Gold Etudes

Fluid research firm: Omnium Technologique

Financial management: CB Economie

Control office: Socotec

Image credits

Photo Nicolas Mathéus

Courtesy of Yves Saint Laurent

Courtesy of Fondation Jardin Majorelle