Some of the best designers have little recorded of their work so are less known to the masses, but thankfully the book Bill Willis brings awareness to the amazing work of this talented man.
Many Moroccan design books line my bookshelves. A few have featured the home of Bill Willis and naturally, those of Yves Saint Laurent, also designed by Willis. None of them gave me much information however about this creative individual responsible for such unique sensual interiors. When I read, years ago, about a book coming out dedicated to the work of Willis, I was so happy. The only problem was that the book was not easily attained. The only way to purchase it was to do so from the Jardin Majorelle bookstore in Marrakesh. At the time, wiring payment to Morocco in dirhams or dollars, I wasn’t sure which, made me hesitate.
The book has stayed in my mind through the years. My daughter traveled to Morocco recently so I urged her to go to the Jardin and while she was there please, please go into the gift shop to see if there were still copies of the book available. There were and she wonderfully lugged it back with her confused why a book would cost so much and be worth this much effort. It is absolutely worth the cost and while it was zero effort for me I so appreciate her effort of securing it for me. It is a treasure.
A man of style.
What an individual. I love this photo of him. The most stylish people wear the simplest outfits with much élan.
Dar es Saada has captured my attention from the first image I saw. The house is amazing, but I am equally enchanted by the lush gardens and large pond that greet visitors as they pass through the tall wall enclosing the property. From the book, I learned that the house was rather plain and suburban prior to Willis’s transformation of it into an exotic home with a new second story, large curving staircase, and numerous terraces.
A man of simplicity.
Willis said his greatest talent lay in designing simply. One would have to agree with him upon seeing this perfect bedroom he designed for Pierre Bergé in Dar es Saada.
Simplicity is seen in the Dar es Saada library as well with its large but restrained fireplace covered in rectangular pink-glazed tiles.
In Willis’ own home, Dar Noujoum, the salon was a favorite room because of its size and shape. It was not long and narrow as were most Moroccan rooms. Instead it was large and square allowing for the furnishings he desired. He said “They are the only spaces that can be furnished with European pieces. After many years of sitting on squat banquettes at low tables, I yearned for Western comfort. This is it.”
The photos shown are just a few of my favorites from the book. Every photo reveals the amazing talent of Bill Willis. The text is wonderfully written by the talented writer and former editor, Marian McEvoy. Should you want to include this marvelous book in your personal library you can contact the Jardin Majorelle.
See here for additional photos of Willis’s former home, Dar Noujoum.
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