Moroccan Interiors...... Bill Willis Style.

This is post number one of a three part series on Moroccan style interiors. If you like this beautiful style,then you must become acquainted with the man that first brought the look into the spotlight.Born in Tennessee, educated at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and briefly a resident of Rome, the high priest of Moroccan interiors, Bill Willis found a foothold in North Africa in the mid-1960s and never left.—Willis's wedding present to friend Paul Getty Jr and his new bride Talitha was a Moroccan honeymoon. Willis tagged along. The trip ended in Marrakech and none of them wanted to leave. So the Gettys bought the Palais de la Zahia, commissioned by the Glaoui of Marrakech in the 18th century. Willis worked on the Getty House, twice, then designed one for the Rothchilds and another for fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent next to Majorelle Gardens. The list goes on like a who's who of global elite expats in Marrakech.
Morocco had almost forgotten its indigenous architectural and design history, until Willis's fresh eye came along to rejoice in its rainbow palette and subtle variations on ancient Islamic themes. He developed a style based on traditional Moroccan references (arches, painted woodwork, geometric patterns in tiling) but imbued with his own slightly camp sense of humor. Willis once again brought the Moroccan style into the visual vocabulary of the American and European fashion forward viewer.






Music to enhance your visit!!

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Moroccan craftsmanship was on its way to extinction when an unknown decorator arrived in Marrakech in the 1960s. Bill Willis revived the skills of artisans—and the crumbling homes of expats—with a glory yet unmatched. At Villa Oasis, home of Yves Saint Laurent , Willis's talent shines undimmed


The vestibule at Yves Saint Laurent's Villa Oasis features traditional Moroccan treatments such as carved plasterwork, marble and tile floors and tooled metalwork on the arched door.


One of the six brilliantly tiled bathrooms at Dar Es Saada—the guesthouse at fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent’s Marrakech retreat—was designed by Bill Willis in a different and distinctive style.




Yves Saint Laurent's Marrakech retreat.

The salon vert at Villa Oasis; the consoles on the right were painted by Jacques Majorelle, who was responsible for the original layout of the Villa and its garden.






Decorative doors & elaborate tile-work in Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech Interior. Designed by Bill Willis.



Working with designers Bill Willis in Marrakesh and Jacques Granges in Paris, Yves Saint Laurent turned his villa into a museum of Moroccan handicraft.
Yves Saint Laurent said was was his 'favorite room in the world.'


In the library, entirely designed by Willis, employing traditional wood-carving and stenciling techniques, armchairs from Brazil once belonged to the decorator. On the wall hangs Bergé's collection of Orientalist paintings
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Blue Green Mosaic Fireplace. Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech Interior. Designed by Bill Willis.


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An alcove in the salon vert brings together several traditional techniques: a richly painted carved cedar arch; intricate tile work; and a slick marble floor.

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The master bedroom in Villa Oasis. Willis's final project, begun a month before his death—was completed by Bergé. The cedar paneling is painted with Moroccan motifs.


The still popular restaurant Dar Yacout in Marrakech, designed by Willis.


Ornately carved stucco entrance to the main sitting room at Willis’s own Marrakech home, a former royal harem. Photo: Lisl Dennis



Talitha Getty's house, Marrakech, interior by Bill Willis.





An internal courtyard designed by Bill Willis in Talitha Getty’s villa in Tangier.


One of the bedrooms and the dining room at the Willis-designed Hotel Tichka in Marrakech. Photo: Lisl Dennis






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This blog post was published by
Lisa Farmer

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