Maite and Paolo Bulgari’s Morocco home is a wunderkammer of artefacts and decadent vernacular furnishings

OCT 18, 2019 | By Beatriz Fabian
The floor of the white room is covered with a handwoven rug with Berber patterns. The orange armchair, encased in Rubelli fabric, lies next to the sofa designed by Paniagua; Photographs by German Saiz
A large Turkish bed in ebonised argan wood is a design by Paniagua; Photographs by German Saiz
In the bedroom, a bed made by Tapicerías Veroe, in silk, by Jim Thomson is next to the bench, a French outdoor furniture design from the 40s. A 19th century Moroccan silk tapestry embroidered in silver hangs on the wall, while the curtains showcase Berber embroidery; Photographs by German Saiz

For their home in Morocco, Maite and Paolo Bulgari dreamed of incorporating an Oriental twist. On a trip to Seville, they were amazed by the beauty of La Giralda and its similarity to the Kutubbiya Mosque in Marrakech and the Hasan Tower in Rabat.

That was when they decided to look for Andalusian references. “Both Maite and Paolo have been hands-on with the project and, while they offered complete freedom, their personality shines through this house,” says interior designer Pablo Paniagua.

“All or nothing” became the mantra for the Malaga decorator. He drew every design detail of the riad in Marrakech for this expansive property, which is located in the heart of the old town.

An argan wood table from Mauritania and an 18th century Syrian goldwork tray sits in front of the replace designed by Gustavo Paniagua; Photographs by German Saiz

“To create a language different from what is largely understood by the West”, Paniagua diligently pursued several lines of study, delving into Islamic craftsmanship and French Orientalist art to understand “traditional interior styles that existed before the arrival of the Europeans.”

The green room houses a collection of ancient Egyptian alabaster vases that the Bulgari family treasures. The leather screen with Moroccan patterns and the sofa are designed by the decorator himself; Photographs by German Saiz

From Granada inlay work to Syrian gold and silver craft, Moroccan woodwork to Egyptian alabaster— none of the ornate elements employed are foreign to Morocco. “It is a melting pot of cultures,” says Paniagua, “We’ve collected objects from four of the country’s imperial cities—Meknes, Rabat, Fez and Marrakech—Egyptian alabaster, some French brush strokes and ad hoc designs.” Excluding these, the owners ensured everything else was procured solely from Morocco, favouring a close affinity to the country.

For the green room, which houses a carpet handwoven in the Middle Atlas, Pablo Paniagua chose the bench in Rubelli velvet, upholstered by Tapicerías Veroe, and the coffee table that holds an ancient Syrian perfumer. His brother, architect Gustavo Paniagua, designed the royal cedar ceiling made by Moroccan cabinetmakers and the chimney; Photographs by German Saiz

The treatment of floors and walls is a prominent aspect; it enables a complete immersion in the most typical and traditional Moroccan environment. The carpet and drapery fabrics are sourced from the Low and Middle Atlas mountains. Among the glorious textiles is a fabric with trimmings made in Seville, using Moroccan yarn and wool, over eight months. Its trellis combines Islamic crafts and influences of a piece from the Spanish city of Ronda.

The living room opens to a patio dominated by this monumental bronze and silver lamp found at an antiquarian in Marrakech; Photographs by German Saiz

The walls in tadelakt—sand finished in true Moroccan style with black soap and wolive oil—feature traditional zellige sockets based on ceramic tesserae, and some following the patterns taken from the Alhambra of Granada.

An entryway to the white room follows a traditional Moroccan model with brass applications and solid bronze fittings; Photographs by German Saiz

The ceilings showcase models by Gustavo Paniagua, based on coffered ceilings of 16th century Marrakech that connect with Spanish designs of Mudejar tradition. True to the spirit of local craftsmanship, Paniagua fashioned a classic palette of white, green, burgundy and blue. To complete the luxurious setting, the rooms are effused with the quintessential aroma of Morocco—the scent of cedar, making one more of Maite’s wishes come true.

Scroll below for more images from Maite and Paolo Bulgari’s gorgeous home in Morocco!

Curtains made of aged Moroccan cloth and smoke tone fringes frame the way to the hammam. A royal cedar mirror with Berber theme made by Paniagua hangs on the wall; Photographs by German Saiz


The anteroom of the kitchen houses an ebonised cedar cupboard, along with seaters that follow Spanish models of the 19th century; Photographs by German Saiz


The reading room houses a mirror of Syrian inlay work in walnut, bone, mother-of-pearl and rosewood, and an armchair upholstered by Veroe tapestries, with linen from Loro Piana set against walls plastered in ash; Photographs by German Saiz


The walls plastered in tadelakt (waterproof plaster) complement the old coffered ceiling. A brown wool rug and Mauritanian mat cover the floor, while a study lamp sits on the walnut table with inlaid Syrian mother-of-pearl; Photographs by German Saiz


The dining room is a tribute to the classic Moroccan style of the 19th century with ornate Andalusian influences. Paniagua also designed the table under the 18th century Toledan lantern that is suspended from the cedar ceiling; Photographs by German Saiz


The library delves into the Moroccan idea of gloom and insinuated light, according to the decorator. It showcases antique tables of Granada inlay work, a French blue armchair and a tea table from Egypt. An old Berber shawl in embroidered silk and silver thread is seen over the chimney; Photographs by German Saiz


A Syrian crescent cusp and yamur, found in the Medina of Marrakech, sits on the Andalusian wicker desk in the library. The linen curtains have been woven in Morocco using a mix of fabrics from Donghia and Rubelli; Photographs by German Saiz