Mama Shelter by Philippe Starck

After Paris, the owners of Mama Shelter recently opened their second concept right in the city centre of sunny Marseille, near Cours Julien, a district with its urban art vibe and its mix of concert halls, young fashion designers and sunny terraces. The whole interior was designed by Philippe Starck. This one is a must-see!

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Description by Philippe Starck

After many months of searching, the intersection of three narrow streets (Rue Langeron, Rue de la Loubière, and Rue Chateau Payan) and three historic districts of Marseille was selected as the location for MAMA. This location places MAMA right in the city centre, near the Cours Julien district with its urban art vibe and its mix of concert halls, young fashion designers and sunny terraces. Easily accessible by the Metro (Baille, Castellane and Notre Dame-du-Mont Stations), Mama Shelter is only 25km from Marseille Provence airport and on the way to the Velodrome and the Prado beaches. In this area, the shutters open outward, greeting each other across the steep lanes, reflecting the ups and downs of life’s rich complexity. The words of the poem “Song of the Stranger” by Edmond Jabès resonate even more: “I’m looking for a man I don’t know, who’s never been more myself that since I started to look for him. Does he have my eyes, my hands and all those thoughts like flotsam of time? Season of a thousand wrecks, the sea no longer a sea, but an icy watery grave. Yet farther on, who knows how it goes on? A little girl sings backward and nightly reigns over trees a shepherdess among her sheep. Let us wrench thirst from the grain of salt no drink can quench. Along with the stones, a whole world eats its heart out, being from nowhere, like me.”

MAMA MARSEILLE is the modern relationship with an ancestral reality. Marseille, a global city which is gaining momentum in Europe and looking in awe and admiration towards Africa on the horizon. So much more than a place to sleep, Mama Shelter is the heart of life, a place where people gather around a shared meal, a live band, unpredictable encounters.

127 rooms between 15 to 45 m2, spread over six floors with the option of five categories and colours and with prices starting at €69. Rooms similar to those at MAMA PARIS, but drawing on a new energy through the colours of the Mediterranean. Cool in the summer, they are also warm during rare cold snaps. On arriving in the small square, a warm and vast octopus extends its tentacles as the first sign of welcome to those who have chosen to allow themselves a few days at MAMA. The ground floor quickly sets the tone. Next to the live stage and its suspended musical instruments stands a 4-metre long table football game that can be played by 8 to 16 people.

The long bar and the kitchen are facing each other with in the middle, long tables where you can share a meal. You can also sit comfortably, looking at the soft light that goes through to the terrace. For a moment we are elsewhere. In Marseille, of course, but also in Andalusia or in the narrow lanes in the centre of Lisbon. One thing is for sure, we’re in the Mediterranean. A Boukha, a Raki, a Pastis or a Gambetta with finely cut Poutargue are just some of the ways to escape the turmoil of modern life for a moment and take the time to simply do nothing. You’ll also meet men and women from all over the world who have decided to make Marseille their sanctuary. These men and women are the MAMA team and share a double love, that of a city, Marseille and that of a lifestyle, MAMA. MAMA MARSEILLE features a simple cuisine created by famous chefs, Alain Senderens and Jerome Banctel who celebrate Mediterranean cooking in the city without resorting to the cliché of traditional Marseille dishes. MAMA MARSEILLE is a credit to the city which for generations has been the embodiment of a hymn to life and hope. MAMA loves this city too much to succumb to clichés, trying instead to create an image of what it has to say to the world. Meanwhile, MAMA issues this call to the world, bursting with desire: “Marseille loves the world; MAMA loves you and is waiting for you.”

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- by Matt Watts