This award recognizes the best achievements of French agencies in foreign lands. This year, it was granted to the Marrakchi museum, which opened in October 2017 and was designed by Karl Fournier and Oliver Marty, architects from Studio KO.
The building was selected to receive the award over nine other finalists and has historical significance for Morocco. During their first stay in Marrakech, the late designer and Pierre Bergé, a co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent, fell in love with Majorelle Garden, which they bought in 1980.
AFEX is not YSL Museum’s first award. In 2017, it was named among the most influential buildings of the year by the prestigious magazine, Architectural Design. In 2018, it was awarded the “Best New Public Building” by the British magazine, Wallpaper.
Covering an area of 4,000 m2, the Marrakech museum contains a permanent exhibition space that displays Laurent’s work, a room for temporary exhibitions, a 130-seat auditorium, a café-restaurant, a bookshop, and a research library. The library will house 5,000 books on topics including Arabic and Andalusian history, botany, history of fashion, and poetry.
Built out of local terracotta, concrete, and earth-colored terrazzo, the museum will be situated opposite the designer’s Majorelle Gardens. Together with the Berber museum, it draws approximately 700,000 visitors each year.
The French architecture company, Studio KO, drew inspiration for the building from “the duality of curves and lines, and the succession of loose and clean cuts” found in Laurent’s collections.