script> Africa Moto: May 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Discover: Le Jardin des Biehn, Morocco


                                                      {Photos: Le Jardin des Biehn}

Hello, friends! I recently discoved the charming boutique hotel, Le Jardin de Biehn in the April-May 2011 issue of Cote Sud and May issue of Elle Decoration and instantly fell in love.

Located in the heart of Fez, Morocco, Le Jardin des Biehn, is a luxurious riad that was formely the summer palace of a Moroccan Pasha which was lovingly renovated by owners Michel and Catherine Biehn, a French expat couple.  Michel Biehn wears many hats, he is an interior designer, textile collector, avid traveler and author of several books about lifestyle, cuisine and culture.

Set in a large Andalusian garden, the hotel consists of nine suites, a gallery, hamman (a traditional Moroccan sauna), spa and restaurant (Fez Cafe). Each of the eclectic suites are all uniquely decorated with luxuriously rich fabrics, patterns and textures intermingled with rich Moroccan design (tiles, furniture and architecture) giving each room its own character.

Morocco is definitely on my list of dream destinations, the culture, food, textiles, architecture and scenery are so inviting..being a short plane ride away from Bamako definitely puts it high on my possible vacation spots.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Shop Love: Mahatsara

I discovered Mahatsara, a Paris-based boutique filled with charming ethical and fair trade products from southern Africa. I spent some time browsing their lovely product mix for homewares, fashion accessories and gifts: from colorful soft toys and fun luggage tags to lovely cushions, rustic baskets and beautiful ceramics. The boutique was created by Catherine de La Poype, Christophe HillĂ© and Pierre-Emmanuel Chartron, who are all passionate about Africa, sustainable development and contemporary design. Above are some of my favorites, that I would love to have in my home. Don't you just love the embroidered bears? I think they would make such wonderful baby gifts? You can find out more here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Designer Inspiration: Sig Bergamin

I absolutely adore the  beach house of designer Sig Bergamin and Murilo Lomas in Trancaso, Bahia in Brazil  featured in the April 2011 issue of  Elle Decor. Everything about this cozy place is just gorgeous from the artwork, and the furniture to the use of global traditional textiles. I simply love how the casual beach house mixes beautifully different styles, colors, textures and patterns and yet manages to stay light and balanced and not over the top.

 I found a lot of African elements in there including a Nigerian beaded armchair and Kenyan masks in the living room, African quilts and pillows in a guest room, and an ottoman, rugs and upholstered indigo chairs in another guest room.

Isn't it just fabulous, so much inspiration here? You can see the rest of their house over at Elle Decor.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Artist Love: Gerard Sekoto

House District Six oil on canvas c. 1943
The Artist's Mother and Stepfather oil on canvas board c. 1946

Three Seated Women oil on canvas c. 1946
The Milkman

Have a look at the beautiful and colorful artwork of  the late Gerard Sekoto,  a self-taught pioneer of modern South African art and also a musician. Sekoto rendered his work in a variety forms and experimented with a number of techniques. I originally discovered his work through a beatiful book of his art that a friend gave me called "Gerard Sekoto: My Life and Work", which documents his work in South Africa and later in self-imposed exile in France.

Sekoto's paintings, particularly the early ones, are intricate observations of his life and surroundings, that capture human life amazingly.  His paintings of the townships of Sophiatown, District Six and Eastwood  are rich visual historical records of a now extinct way of life. All three areas were bulldozed in the fifties and sixties under apartheid South Africa. 

There are so many beautiful pieces that I would love to have them all particularly those from his time in Eastwood (a girl can wish, right?)You can see more of his work here and here.

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