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Inside Fahad Hariri’s Art and Lucky Charm-Filled Marrakech Abode Honoring His Family

Filled with art and lucky charms, and designed with sprawling gardens, Fahad Hariri’s Marrakech abode reflects his family’s spirit.

Photo: Jacques Pépion

In a quest for a holiday home, Fahad Hariri was immediately drawn to this sprawling Moroccan abode, citing its “great feeling of serenity and peace.” Built in the late- 1990s by the Tunisian architect Charles Boccara, the house sits on a three-hectare plot of land in Marrakech’s sprawling Palmeraie, a palm grove northeast of the city. “I wanted to keep that feeling, but I also wanted to add the joy you can find with the vibrant colors of Morocco. It was also important for me that it was very homey, comfortable, and cozy.”

In the joyful dining room, ceiling lamps and sconces feature monkeys and parrots in reed woven by hand in Mexico, set above a Karl Springer table. Photo: Jacques Pépion

These are precisely the signatures of the Pinto interior design agency that handled the project. Such a brief was possible because those at the Paris-based firm renowned for its innovative decoration of luxury offices, hotels, yachts, jets, and private residences, knew him very well. The youngest son of the late Rafik Hariri, Lebanon’s prime minister, Fahad had already worked closely with the office on previous personal projects in London, Paris, and Ibiza. In 2020, Hariri, a graduate from the École Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris, became Pinto’s owner and, with Pietro Scaglione, co-artistic director. But here, he was just a client, albeit one who likes to be very involved. “I told them, ‘First, and above all, it has to be very personal and not a random Moroccan holiday home. The house should be a kind of portrait of us,’” Hariri says, referring to his kin. “I also wanted it to have a very strong spirit as if it belonged to the family forever. I did not want a home that gave the impression of being just delivered by an interior designer the night before, but something that had the feel of existing for years and was charged with the memories of its occupants.”

In the master bedroom, French vintage furniture found at the Paris flea market surround the bed with its cover made from Suzani fabric. Photo: Jacques Pépion

Given the name Manzar Al Jamil (translated from Arabic as “beautiful view”) by previous owners, the house is large, with over 2,500 square meters of living space on two levels and voluminous rooms with vaulted ceilings that soar to 4.5 meters on the ground floor, creating a decorating challenge in finding that coziness that Hariri required. Led by Scaglione, the project took two years to accomplish, in part due to the structural changes to the house that included building a spa and gymnasium, moving the outdoor pool, making a sumptuous indoor one, and adding a pair of ornate sage-green gazebos decorated with fine Moroccan zouag hand-painted ceilings. Pinto delivered the home in 2017 so perfectly infused with the family’s personal style that even after five years of living in it, the Hariris have changed almost nothing.

Inspired by traditional oriental baths, the indoor swimming pool is part of the spa area. Ceiling lighting evokes the summer night sky in Morocco. Photo: Jacques Pépion

Every house has a story, Hariri likes to say, and the lengthy renovation allowed time “to give life to the narrative – hunting down many vintage furniture pieces and objects, pieces chosen for their poetry, their charm, or their playful side,” he says. It’s highly personal, down to the monkeys that invade every room in the house through sculptures, decorative objects, and furniture pieces. “They are my spirit animal,” comments Hariri, “and I have them in every residence and office as lucky charms.”

The dining room features panels by Marie-Anne Oudejans and Vikas Soni, and rug by Salvesan Graham, along with “Furniture collected over the years from every country I’ve lived in.” On the covered terrace, a Marcello Fantoni sculpture is surrounded by Moroccan traditional brass lanterns hanging from a painted Tataoui ceiling. A set of garden furniture, Embassy by Bonacina, is covered with fabrics by Dualee and Holland & Sherry. Photo: Jacques Pépion

The house’s beige color, realized in a Moroccan polished plastering technique called tadelakt, offers a strong local feel, and contributes to a rather soothing view. It also invites the colorful carpets and fabrics that were created specifically for the house by Pinto to have maximum impact. The neutral tones help showcase Hariri’s large art collection. Hundreds of paintings, sculptures, signed furniture pieces and objets d’art fill the abode. Standout works include a large Cindy Sherman portrait of four figures (Untitled, 2007-2008), seven early pieces by the neoromantic English painter Keith Vaughan, and an abstract canvas by the Moroccan Farid Belkahia.

A garden of palm trees created by Madison Cox sits by the swimming pool. Photo: Jacques Pépion

Each room is dominated by – and named for – a different color. Thin painted lines accent the architectural details of the walls while patterns on lampshades help draw out a room’s dominant palette. The artwork also contributes to the chromatic through-lines. In the intimate “winter salon,” marked by a bricked ribbed vaulted ceiling with pointed arches, William Skilling’s sublime Cheetah in a Red Harness sits above the zellige fireplace and ties in the room’s red pieces – a wool carpet, the cushions on a pair of circa 1955 Renzo Franchi armchairs, sofa pillows, and drape patterning – with the studded red waist harness and crimson ties around the animal’s head.

In the guest bedroom is a traditional zellige fireplace. Photo: Jacques Pépion

The 41-year-old Hariri and his wife, Maya, have three kids, between the ages of nine and 14, and this played a role in their home’s fundamental layout. “I wanted them to have their space to feel free and enjoy it in their own way, alone or with their friends,” explains Hariri. “At the same time, I wanted to keep them very close to us.” The floor plan offers the children independent areas next to their parents’ more private ones. From the kids’ point of view, the pools are their favorite spaces. The indoor pool was inspired by the tradition of oriental baths with white horseshoe arches and vaulted ceilings. Part of the outdoors was brought inside with some floral wall paintings and pinpoint ceiling lighting that evokes Marrakech’s brilliant, clear night sky.

The gazebo features a traditional Moroccan-painted ceiling. Photo: Jacques Pépion

The serenity that initially drew Hariri to the house extends to the ample grounds that surround it. For this, he hired celebrated garden designer Madison Cox, who oversees Morocco’s most famous garden, Jardin Majorelle, once owned by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé and now run by the Fondation Jardin Majorelle. “Madison is a Morocco lover and knows the country and the local vegetation very well. The choice was obvious,” says Hariri. “I gave him carte blanche and he came up with this idea of creating natural look-a-like outdoor spaces that give the sensation that the house has been built in the middle of the Palmeraie.” The greenery has since prospered to achieve that more natural feeling, helping to fully realize the original vision of a peaceful, comfortable, and cozy home in Morocco for the Hariri family; an oasis within an oasis.

Horizontal and vertical stripes on the walls bring modernity to the traditional zellige flooring and painted ceiling of the entrance hall softly lighted through the mashrabiyas. Photo: Jacques Pépion

Originally published in the April 2023 issue of Vogue Arabia

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