April 18th 2012

marrakech expressions

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A monkey in a dress.
A cobra slinking openly in the street.
A dwarf hawking cookies from a silver tray.
A severed camel head.

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No these aren’t scenes from HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones”. These are scenes I witnessed within the first thirty minutes of entering the souk (market) in the medina (city) in Marrakech last week. This ancient Moroccan city is claustrophobically compressed with indescribable textures, colors, odors and exoticisms. Being lost in its disorienting labrynths is truly an experience. Marrakech is not a sterile “less is more” city. It’s a complex quilt work of colorful, kaleidoscopic tile mosaics and lacey plasterwork.

McAlpine Booth & Ferrier’s Susan Ferrier and I were honored to attend the invitation-only 2012 Design Leadership Summit. The event is the annual meeting of the Design Leadership Network, an organization of renowned architects, interior designers, landscape architects and media editors. The group gathers to openly discuss our professions, share experiences and try our best to predict the future of the industry (with a stylish collection of crystal balls).

The topics at this year’s Summit ranged from the impact of social media in our businesses to Harvard reports on the current housing market to  fashion designer Ralph Rucci and his divine inspirations.

The event culminated with a seated dinner for 200 under the desert sky, lit only by torches and firelight. Moroccan carpets underfoot, expertly prepared indigenous fare, and a herd of camel completed the scene. Memorable does not begin to describe this trip. All that aside, it was an amazing symposium: exotic locale, yes, but also a concentrated time where egos and competitive natures (our professions are rife with such) are shed and we were able to openly discuss how to serve our clients better.

Only in the magical city of Marrakech could one see over two hundred of the world’s top designers AND a monkey in a dress.

3 comments

  1. Dee says:

    Greg, this magical city remains in my mind as the most fascinating city we have visited. I still have two bags filled with fabric. Guess I thought I was going to re-do the beach house?!! Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories of a fabulous experience!

  2. allison says:

    I knew there would be a snake around Greg at some point in the images. The images are incredibly beautiful and inspiring. I know you 2 had a blast and learned so much. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

  3. Lucky you! This has been on the top of my must-visit list for too long.

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