Taroudant is a bit like Marrakech was many years ago, perhaps, long before the boom that some say has destroyed it. It's an hour or so inland of Agadir, on the edge of the desert and the climate, especially in the autumn and spring, is delightfully dry and sunny. This is the entry hall of a private villa just outside the city walls; remarkably, it was built only a few years ago.
It's a jewel of Islamic/Berber simplicity in which every element has its roots in Moroccan tradition. And while it might be more inspired by the palaces of Marrakech than those of Taroudant it doesn't seem at all out of place in its desert landscape and with its sensitive use of locally sourced materials, such as these charming hanging lamps.
The owner of this elegant palace, though European, has spent much of his life in North Africa and he has great knowledge of the decorative arts employed in creating this Moroccan country house. The central courtyard retains elements of the Islamic order and yet it's all reduced to an almost contemporary purity here.
In classic Islamic gardens the central fountain is always small and quiet, in contrast to the European model, which is big and audible. Typically they are fashioned in the shape of lotus leaves, as is this one. I think you could almost say that this tiny interior courtyard qualifies as a garden even though there isn't a single plant in it. The garden element that it does have, which makes it a garden to my mind, is sky.
The rear garden, with the Altas mountains in the distance, is planted out entirely in citrus and now, in the winter months, the perfume of orange blossoms fills the air. At the bottom of the garden is a kind of folly with a loggia, which looks back to the main house.
The interior is enriched with the occasional Berber antique, such as this doorway refashioned as a hall closet.
European touches appear in the living quarters. This window, much more French in style than Moroccan, still succeeds in harmoniously fitting in.
But this beautiful doorway in the garden pavilion is purely Berber and purely Taroudant.