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BOP is currently working on a great project in Morocco (our first in North Africa), supporting the conceptual development of two cultural venues that will form part of a huge new mixed-use development – including cultural facilities – along the Bou Regreg river in Rabat. At present,the site may not look like much, but come back in 5 years and it should be a very different view.
Our project team – Alex, Iain, Bethany and BOP partner Mark Irving (Visual Impressions Ltd) – spent some time last week in Rabat and Marrakech. Here are some of the key impressions and insights that we picked up on our trip:
Morocco excels in craft and making, both in terms of design and implementation. This is manifested in traditional crafts such as beautiful mosaics, wood carvings and metal work, but is equally evident in other contexts – from contemporary interpretations of traditional crafts to airport designs. There is now significant potential for the international development of the Moroccan design sector.
There is an interesting blend of traditional style with contemporary Western-style fashion, music, design and leisure (if with a Moroccan twist). Arty cafes and shops that would feel at home in Shoreditch can be found hidden away in the middle of Marrakesh’s souk (“Keep Calm and Eat Couscous” postcards, anyone?) and the country has the highest level of technology literacy in the region (a walk through the National Library, filled with students bending over laptops and smartphones, certainly confirmed this!)
Morocco’s history, which has played out on the axis of Europe and Africa (from Berber pirates and medieval travellers to French colonisation and Yves Saint Laurent) is currently underrepresented locally. There is no National Museum, for example – but there are signs that this is changing: we visited an exhibition on Medieval Morocco in Rabat’s recently opened Museum of Modern Art, and a new fascinating show on Berber culture in Marrakech’s Jardin Majorelle.
The BOP team look forward to further immersion in Moroccan craft, design and culture as we continue work on this fantastically exciting project.
BOP in Morocco: craft, design and culture
BOP Consultant Bethany Lewis blogs on an exciting new cultural venue project in Rabat.
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By BOP Consulting
Bethany is an experienced consultant, who has worked for a range of national and international clients over the past ten years. Her main focus is designing and implementing research and evaluation projects.
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