An Architectural Gem With a Soothing Soul in Marrakech, and Other News

Our daily look at the world through the lens of design.

Maison Brummell Majorelle. Photography by Emily Andrews

The Design Dispatch offers expertly written and essential news from the design world crafted by our dedicated team. Think of it as your cheat sheet for the day in design delivered to your inbox before you’ve had your coffee. Subscribe now

Have a news story our readers need to see? Submit it here.

In Marrakech, an Architectural Gem With a Soothing Soul

Nestled amidst the rich tapestry of Marrakech’s cultural landscape, the new Maison Brummell Majorelle fuses Moroccan architecture and contemporary design. New Zealand architect Bergendy Cooke joined forces with Moroccan architect Amine Abouraoui to meticulously craft an earth-sheltered, sculptural retreat that pays homage to the vibrant history of the region. As guests meander through the hotel’s labyrinthine halls adorned with intricate mosaics, it’s impossible not to be captivated by the interplay of light and shadow.

The pièce de résistance is the breathtaking central courtyard punctuated with a serene reflection pool and a mesmerizing canopy of foliage nodding to the famous Majorelle Gardens next door. Every aspect of the hotel, from its handcrafted furnishings by local producer Maison Nicole to the traditional Moroccan kitchen serving breakfast on the ground floor, plays off of the Arabic vernacular. It’s also a soothing home base to return to after a day exploring the frenzied medina. Kick back next to the cozy fireplace, in the traditional hammam, or by the heated plunge pool in the communal spaces, or return to the room for a soak in the gorgeous stone tub while the melodious call to prayer gently echoes from afar. —Nate Storey

The West Heating Plant and Coal Yard in Washington, DC. Image courtesy of Adjaye Associates

Adjaye Associates is revamping the West Heating Plant and Coal Yard in Washington.

Adjaye Associates has begun the transformation of the ‘40s-era West Heating Plant and Coal Yard in Washington, D.C., into high-end residences for the Four Seasons and a private park. The building will feature metalwork facades, floor-to-ceiling windows, louvers, a reading room, and a pool for residents, while the public park will connect to the Georgetown Waterfront Park and Rock Creek Parks. The project is due to be completed in late 2024.

After seizures, the Met has established a plan to scour its collections for looted art.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced a new effort to review its holdings and policies with a view towards returning items it finds to have problematic histories. The plan includes hiring a new provenance research team and forming a committee of curators and conservators to consider legal and public policies and practices when it comes to collecting. The move comes as the Met has faced increased scrutiny over its collection of looted artifacts and could affect how other institutions handle the pressure to return ancient items.

Tadao Ando’s MPavilion. Image courtesy of Tadao Ando Architect & Associates

Tadao Ando’s scheme for the MPavilion nods to traditional Japanese walled gardens.

Tadao Ando is designing the tenth MPavilion, an annual commission in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens, becoming the Pritzker Prize laureate’s first Australian project. Inspired by traditional Japanese walled gardens, Ando envisioned the pavilion as a serene space for gathering and contemplation. The pavilion will feature geometric concrete forms, tall concrete walls creating the feeling of a walled garden, a central column topped by a 46-foot-wide aluminum canopy, and a reflective pool mirroring its surroundings. The pavilion’s completion this summer will mark the beginning of a five-month design festival at the park.

Artists decry an art show sponsored by controversial data analytics company Palantir.

Walter Smerling, a controversial German curator, is facing criticism again for organizing a digital art show titled “Dimensions – Digital Art Since 1859,” sponsored by Palantir, a data analytics company known for aiding governmental surveillance. The show was condemned by 600 artists, art workers, and intellectuals who signed an open letter demanding ethical guidelines for financing and promoting art exhibitions and more art funding from Leipzig to lessen dependence on “toxic sponsorship.” It also called out Palantir’s controversy and suggested their sponsorship attempted to “artwash” the company’s reputation in Germany.

Google is updating its search tool to integrate streamlined generative AI capabilities.

Google has launched Search Generative Experience (SGE), a search tool that uses generative AI to provide smarter and more responsive responses to search queries. SGE displays product details, prices, discounts, and top product considerations, offering singular product summaries with key features, current pricing, and stockists. With SGE, users can search and compare results from across the web for a more efficient product discoverability experience, particularly for fashion, which is one of the platform’s most-searched shopping categories. Google has been incorporating AI into its search function to improve results, and SGE is the first tool to use generative AI, which can change the game for search prompts by interacting with inquiries more like a human assistant might.

The Centre Pompidou. Photography by Francesca et Pier Lorenzo Avanzinell

The Centre Pompidou in Paris will close for five years for a major expansion project.

The Centre Pompidou will undergo a major five-year overhaul as part of an expansion plan announced by Laurent Le Bon, the museum’s president. The project includes developing 215,000 square feet of space beneath the gallery piazza, creating a “new generation center,” and opening a restaurant. The museum will close from 2025 to 2030, but will continue projects off-site and partner with the Grand Palais and the Louvre on several initiatives.

After Nike cut ties with Tom Sachs, the artist apologizes for mistreating his studio staff.

Tom Sachs, the well-known artist who made sneakers in collaboration with Nike, has issued an apology for his treatment of former staff members at his studio after news reports surfaced about their negative experiences working for him. The reports created a public relations crisis for Sachs, and Nike announced that they will not be working with his studio at this time. Sachs denied harassing anyone and has committed to improving his studio culture.

The Sweetgreen Infinite Kitchen. Image courtesy of Sweetgreen

Today’s attractive distractions:

For safety reasons, Chicago fells an ailing tree older than the city itself.

Sweetgreen’s innovative robotic Infinite Kitchen may cut labor costs in half. 

A strange Mona Lisa exhibition in Singapore even features live chickens.

What happens when a brand tries to trademark the shape of a lettuce leaf?

All Stories