clad in artisanal motifs, 'sahbi sahbi' by studio KO spotlights morocco's women-led cuisine

clad in artisanal motifs, 'sahbi sahbi' by studio KO spotlights morocco's women-led cuisine

uncovering Morocco’s female chefs & their culinary tradition

 

Following the success of Studio KO‘s Le Grand Café de la Poste and Bô Zin in Marrakech, the design practice has introduced a third experiential dining location in the heart of the trendy Guéliz neighborhood: ‘Sahbi Sahbi.’ Drawing on a collaborative friendship of over 20 years, Helena Paraboschi, Pierre Pirajean, Karl Fournier, and Olivier Marty (Studio KO) have combined their complementary areas of expertise for the first time to create this unprecedented collective project. ‘Sahbi Sahbi,’ which means soulmates in Darija (Moroccan Arabic), welcomes guests into an intimate meeting place exclusively run by women, shedding light on the typically hushed culture of traditional Moroccan cuisine.

 

In Morocco, the kitchen is normally a secretive place, the hidden domain of the DADAS, women who hand down recipes from one generation to the next. It is with precisely this intention, to share and transmit knowledge – an intention evident even in the layout of the restaurant – that guests are welcomed at Sahbi Sahbi,’ writes the practice.

clad in artisanal motifs, 'sahbi sahbi' by studio KO spotlights morocco's women-led cuisine

all images © Pascal Montary

 

 

And so here, the secret is revealed: an open kitchen at the heart of the dining space where, for the first time, knowledge about the country’s culinary customs and applications are both on show. That said, the concept is as much about honoring the women as Morocco’s cuisine; indeed, the team includes female chefs with all kinds of talents and knowledge and from all sorts of backgrounds, displaying their expertise in front of delighted guests.

 

The result is an atmosphere as productive and varied as the ‘melting pot’ of women working there. ‘In this way, the diners become the audience for a ballet of cooks, as they create, serve and explain traditional dishes including various tagines, pastilla and couscous, the staple, which is also on the menu every Friday lunchtime in three versions that differ according to the cereal used – including, unusually, maize,’ continues the Studio KO team.

clad in artisanal motifs, 'sahbi sahbi' by studio KO spotlights morocco's women-led cuisine
echoing Morocco’s artisanal traditions

 

 

‘sahbi sahbi’: a subtle, artisanal space rich in textures + motifs

 

Binding that unique ambiance is Studio KO’s interior design for ‘Sahbi Sahbi’, which echoes another form of local excellence: the artisanal character of Morocco, here recreated and restyled to incorporate a touch of modernity. In conceiving this warm, convivial space, the architects inverted the archetype of Moroccan cuisine – its secretiveness – and instead placed the cooking at the epicenter of the restaurant’s activity. While ‘exposure’ was the key feature guiding the concept, the design team still maintained the value of secrecy by washing the restaurant in subtle details. From oriental textures and motifs enlivened by the play of light to a nuanced palette of earthy tones that tell a story of traditional materials and knowledge, freely reinterpreted.

 

Behind the spectacular facade lies a relaxed and friendly place that promises an immersive experience of traditional Moroccan cooking, created by several people working in harmony,‘ conclude the designers.

clad in artisanal motifs, 'sahbi sahbi' by studio KO spotlights morocco's women-led cuisine
‘Sahbi Sahbi’ is located in the heart of the trendy Guéliz neighborhood

clad in artisanal motifs, 'sahbi sahbi' by studio KO spotlights morocco's women-led cuisine
earth-toned motifs and textures enlivened by the play of light

clad in artisanal motifs, 'sahbi sahbi' by studio KO spotlights morocco's women-led cuisine
Studio KO still maintained the value of secrecy with subtle designs

clad in artisanal motifs, 'sahbi sahbi' by studio KO spotlights morocco's women-led cuisine
dishes include various tagines, pastilla and couscous

clad in artisanal motifs, 'sahbi sahbi' by studio KO spotlights morocco's women-led cuisine
the kitchen is led by an all-women team from different backgrounds

 

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