“It all began with the place.” Sophie Benkirane, the founder of La Galerie de l’Aimance, Casablanca’s first concept store, remembers the difficulties she faced when she was looking for a “place with a soul” to open her boutique. Sophie had been raised by a father who, among other things, was a renowned painter, and her parents’ house in Montpellier was always welcoming artists, initiating her into the love of beauty.
After being involved in the launch of two art galleries in Casablanca, time had come for her to create her own place. La Galerie de l’Aimance displays the talent of more than sixty artists and designers “Made in Morocco”. The Moroccan new wave of designers is reinventing and playing with traditional codes, creating modern esthetics from traditional materials and objects. Many were already famous abroad, but would rarely find places to exhibit and sell in their country. La Galerie is a rarity in Casablanca, with a coherent concept, perfectly fair trade and valuable for travelers interested in authentic work of art from Morocco’s young designers.
The Medina working-class neighborhood, where La Galerie is located, perfectly adopted Sophie Benkirane, who buys doughnuts from the local salesman (“the best in Casablanca”) and enjoys long talks with the spare parts vendor. Although the high-end boutique deeply contrasts in this neighborhood, the eclectic clientele harmoniously blend with the locals.
The boutique, set in a beautiful Art Deco apartment, glorifies Casablanca’s architectural heritage. It is even a stop not to be missed in the city’s yearly “Heritage Days.” From the stairwell in wrought iron, to the beautiful mosaics on the floor, La Galerie proves to be a true jewel. It is set on the first-floor, above the fish-specialty restaurant La Taverne du Dauphin. “No passer-by comes here. People who climb the stairs are opened to take a break, discover and meet.”