There is a natural energy that emanates from the walls of Marrakech, you can literally feel it. This ancient medieval city is bursting with talent and imagination, but there is a frustration and blind sightedness that comes from the fact that much of this talent remains locked inside the country.
The lack of good infrastructure especially good shipping along with a gap in high quality digital age production and prototyping facilities are all hurdles to getting the imagination of the designers and artisans here out into the World. As my interview with Meriem at Hassan Hajjaj’s atelier proved, even good quality photographic prints are hard to come by, let alone 3D printing (although it is on its way).
In my interview here, Taoufik Aboudia of The Emerging Business Factory talks about the vision for a ‘Creative City’ of Marrakech, which is both a conceptual vision and a proposed new real estate development clustered around a modernised train station. This area would house a Creative University to teach missing skills, which could be reached through inspiring walkways with shops and creative hubs that showcase design talent to visitors.
The Emerging Business Factory is a microcosm of what you can see is this vision for the future, here artisans and creatives will soon be able to create their own pitch or have a website designed which will help them to reach out to the Global Marketplace. Start-ups will benefit from seed capital and coaching in return for a 7% stake in the business, those already in place are growing out of their first office space!
It is hoped that propelling the creative community forward into the digital age (imagine the benefits of complex 3D printed islamic interior design for instance) will help generate a future revenue stream for the country adding positive value to the GDP. From outside having seen this use of the creative community as part of city regeneration elsewhere, you can see the potential. My only wish is that in the rush for the digital dirham or bitcoin sale in the global marketplace, Moroccan’s don’t forget to nurture the ancient traditions, culture and gritty realness which visitors value so highly.
Here Taoufik talks with me about the vision.
Picture – Zakaria Bendriouich, accessory designer and juice bar owner