October 21, 2011 2

Essaouira and Emma Wilson

By in Design, Travel

After arriving in Marrakech for a few days [will get back to Marrakech in a later post] , I headed for the Atlantic coast to the port town of Essaouira. It is off the beaten path but I had a huge motivation for visiting this beautiful fishing port. It is well known as an artist community and has been the destination of choice for musicians like Bob Marley and Jimmy Hendricks in its more modern history. You can check out the annual Gnaoua world music festival in June that is a seven day event . The beauty of this white -walled town was magical with the smells of fish and charcoal in the air each evening when the fishermen bring their catches to the docks to grill your choice on the spot. The boat builders down at the  harbor seem to be constructing gargantuan creatures with wooden ribs which are actually boats in custom production. There are Norwegian fir trees four stories high growing close to the windy harbor walk. I was told these trees only survive in super clean air…another reason to love this place. The beach was predictably windy the first day [this is a huge wind surfing and kitesurfing destination] but it subsided the next day and made for a pleasant evening walk on the beach. The Isle de Mogador can be clearly seen from the beach. It is the sanctuary to Eleonora’s falcons easily viewed with binoculars, or you can hire a boat to reach the island when it is not breeding season.

Ok..so here is how I really got to Essaouria…I have collected articles and pics from design publications over the last 7 or so years from mainly foreign journals and magazines regarding an amazing designer. Her name is Emma Wilson from England. The first publication I saw of her work was Castles In The Sand [named after the Jimmy Hendrix song] which is a 200 year old riad she restored in Essaouria. I remember how drawn I was to her work ..the amazing originality of it and was mesmerized by the unique and quirky furnishings and the simplicity of her style . ..white walls, tribal rugs ,interesting artwork, tadelakt bathrooms and kitchens, and hammock- slug terraces. Every detail special and fresh. Her work did not end there..she has gone on and continued buying and restoring riads within the Medina with her artistic style. So, I sent her an email and got a response…Yay! We were to meet for coffee early the next morning at the  Café de France. I did not know what to expect..would she have time to let me see one of her places? What would she look like? At 8:30 the coolest person ever shows up at the cafe…Emma with a cool hippie purse and Havianas on. She took me to see a few of her places and gave me the history of the buildings as well as the extent of the renovation and even told me stories behind the artwork,where the local furniture was sourced, and about the other pieces they brought from London [how hard they were to get there by truck from Europe]. Our day ended with recommendations for viewing the best art and best  dinner at Elizar. This place had such a hip vibe. It was an apartment owned by an Bohemian Italian with an amazing collection of..well everything. The dinner was memorable with the a mix of Moroccan and jazz world  music and  the yummiest tagine in all of Morocco! Enjoy Emma’s design pics . I am so grateful for a magical day with Emma Wilson [yes..that is Emma in a riad she designed].

2 Responses to “Essaouira and Emma Wilson”

  1. taylor says:

    great post! xoxo

  2. […] as Moroccan interiors! This ethnic chic home is in a small village Sidi Kaouki just south of Essaouira. It is the home of Emma Wilson whom I visited a couple of years ago! Her ethnic chic design puts […]

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