April 7, 2021

Mad About Morocco

To describe Morocco as “colorful” would be a huge understatement, as well as a disservice to its unparalleled charm. The ancient clay walls of the city of Fez, the teeming souks of Marrakech, the cerulean coastline of Casablanca, the ochre alleyways of Tangier’s labyrinthine hilltop villages—these are just vibrant glimpses into the North African kingdom that allow for abundant inspiration. Words SHAHARAINE ABDULLAH | Photography PAOLO FELICIANO

Taking her cue from the latter, event stylist Jannette Garbes of The Flower Garden created a setup that reflects the rich hues from Morocco’s vast landscape.

Arranged at Marriott Clark Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, Garbes’ Moroccan-inspired design aptly echoes the hotel chain’s sophisticated interiors, which caters to both global and distinctively local tastes. Marriott Hotel’s modern vision aims to further its luxurious brand of hospitality while keeping its intricate history intact. In this way, it’s much like Morocco itself, which is a rapidly developing country with a rich history and a myriad of diverse cultures.

Using a palette comprised of deep shades of purple, red, pink and burgundy, Garbes wanted to create an attractive setup by using colors that evoke romance and warmth into her design.

For the VIP table, Garbes constructed a simple metal frame to hang over the long table as a makeshift trellis, ensuring that the design can work both indoors as well as outdoors. For the ceiling treatment, she used purple, burgundy and pink peonies, delphiniums and roses with verdant foliage, adding in silver lanterns bearing exquisite Moroccan craftsmanship. 

Meanwhile, the tablecloth features an elaborate pattern of geometric shapes and abstracted plant forms in the arabesque style: dyed in bold shades of red, burgundy, mint, blue, and cream, reflecting Morocco’s Islamic roots. A purple lace table runner etched with an infinite leaf motif both complements and tempers the striking tablecloth, drawing attention to the rest of the accouterments. The accompanying chairs comes in a matching purple frame with vivid upholstery made from a Gucci-inspired fabric.

For the centerpiece, an array of Ecuadorian roses, lisianthus, tulips, everlasting, cymbidium orchids, delphiniums, and amaranthus in varying shades of purple, yellow, pink, and red are all arranged in eclectic ceramic vases and brass containers. Meanwhile, Moroccan lanterns, votive candles in votive glass, and blue candlesticks on copper candlestick holders add mood and light to the setting.

The Moroccan theme extends to the dinnerware and flatware (all courtesy of Garbes), which are comprised of ceramic Moroccan plates glazed in red and bowls gilded with gold and green, paired with 24k gold and silver cutlery, as well as silver and glass water goblets from Italy and Spain. The accompanying napkins are also from Italy: fabrics in orange and fuschia with a Moroccan pattern, then cinched with a silver leaf napkin ring.

The guest tables are more toned down in terms of color but certainly not in style. The tablecloth sports a similar blue-and-white pattern, reminiscent of the Persian blue-and-white ceramics that Morocco is famous for. Moroccan vases filled with yellow Ecuadorian roses and pomelo China roses with candles in red glass candleholders make up the simple centerpiece, while white plates on silver charger plates with bamboo-handled cutlery make up the flatware.

Menus and place cards, courtesy of Print Divas, round out the table setting. Printed on Old Mill Bianco paper, the stationery bears an arabesque pattern in blue-and-white, with gold borders and a burgundy font. Moroccan decorative flourishes are also digitally printed on the invitations, which feature bold colors and mix-and-match border shapes to differentiate each page. The accompanying  envelope, meanwhile, comes in fusion bronze paper embellished with an ecru-colored tassel with a gold accent and a monogram acrylic as the sealer.

In celebration of Moroccan cuisine, Marriott Clark Hotel prepared a savory feast full of fresh, bright flavors redolent with spices. For starters, there’s roast duck breast and leg confit croquette with toasted almonds and cherry gel, followed by shrimp, salmon, and clam bisque, served with herb croutons. For the fish course, there’s seared salmon fillet, with asparagus, spinach, capers, salsa, and white wine cream sauce. This was followed by a palate cleanser of cherry tomato confit lime and mint sorbet. The main dish is a wagyu beef mignon served with sweet potato puree, beetroot and mushroom port wine jus, topped off by vanilla, salted caramel and green apple panna cotta with walnut crust for dessert.

For the pièce de résistance, Anadona Demapendan of For Heaven’s Cake by A created a three-tiered wedding cake that ties cohesively with the Moroccan theme. Demapendan constructed a cake stand that features a Moroccan tile design with a gold accent to give off a royal vibe, then used the tablecloth as a tile design for the rest of the cake. She decorated the tiers with elaborate Moroccan patterns in blue, gold, and white, then used Flexi Paste for the flowers and gold berries on top. This modern technique has yielded remarkably realistic-looking anemones, hydrangeas, orchids, peonies, blueberries, and pink eucalyptus leaves, achieving Demapendan’s stunning vision for the cake.


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