The untold secret about Moroccan zellige in 5 minutes

For all that people who are exhausted by modern and monotonous life but still daydreaming of exhilarating yet different details, plus an architecture that embodies beauty and originality. Allow Me to offer you a journey to a land that’s home to numerous and wealthy cultures. A land seeped in history and tradition, wherever the distinct design attracts the eye to a tapestry of vivid colors and sophisticated patterns.
This land is Morocco aka the home of hidden secrets and the exquisite beauty that has been spread throughout the world.
Is the Zellige one of them ?

What is zellige :

Zellige  (also known as Moroccan tiles, zellige terracotta tiles, and zellij) is a Moroccan surface coating that is more trendy than ever. These small colorful tiles assembled against each other dress the floor and walls with mosaics that bring a crazy charm, warmth, and a total change of scenery to the Western interior.

It’s a popular form of art that has been in existence in Morocco for centuries. The art has been passed down from one generation to another., it’s a  lifetime investment. From father to son, artisans preserved the secrets.

What makes these tiles so sought after is the fact that they are attractive, quite durable, resistant to many forms of wear, such as water and even some light foot traffic, easy to clean, and can be used almost anywhere in a house. Pools, ceilings, tables, and walls, can be decorated by using Zellige tiles.

A good way to know whether your zellige is authentic or not? Look for tiny imperfections or variants among your tiles, If your Zellige tiles look perfectly carved and level, they aren’t true Zellige. These imperfections are what make Zellige so charming. My apologies for the perfectionists out there 🤪

Types of Moroccan zellige:

Also, you should note that this kind of decoration has spiritual roots. Religious concepts and sacred Islamic texts had the most important influence on this art.

The botanical decoration uses the repetition of groups of symmetrical plant elements. This type of decoration is also known as arabesque.
It consists of drawings of flowers and plants according to precise rules and elaborate style.

moroccan Zellige Floral Decoration in Morocco
Zellige Floral Decoration Of a small fountain

Geometric Decoration

Geometric decoration is the foremost sophisticated technic for Zellige decoration. This decoration, which relies on mathematics, adopts the principles of reiteration and harmony. Reiteration consists of the reduplication of ornamental units. This duplication lets Moroccan Zellige gives you the print of endless movement.

Zellige Geometric Decoration
Zellige Geometric Decoration

Calligraphy Decoration

Calligraphy is strong symbolism in Arab-Islamic civilization, it deeply reflects the identity and authenticity of the Islamic nation, reflecting its historical depth, Arabic calligraphy has characteristics that made it a flexible decorative element.
In the beginning, Arabic calligraphy gave the Quranic text grandeur and majesty. Later, It became among the dominant arts of Islamic civilization.
In historical cities such Meknes, fez, Marrakesh .., you can discover these authentic  Arabic calligraphy decorations on the Moroccan Zellige.

moroccan Zellige Calligraphy Decoration in Morocco
Zellige Calligraphy Decoration In Madrassa Ben Youssef Marrakech

From Clay to Mosaics – How zellige mosaics are made

Zellige is certainly a difficult art to master, not anyone can produce zellige.  It requires patience, an eye for details, and depth knowledge of the unique production processes.

As many know Zellige tiles are crafted from clay mainly found within the city of Fez, Morocco. After soaking in water by the hand of artisans until we have a soft texture,  then they press the mixture into squares and let it dry out under the sun.

The superb craftsmen who are known as Maallems ( or Zellige artisans ) use a shaping block and hammer called “Menkash” to smooth the tile and cut it into a more precise shape and size.  they apply the colors to the upper part of the tiles.. which will be placed in the natural wood-fired kilns in order to get slightly different tones of colors to each tile. The following part of the process involves the design being drawn into the tile in preparation for cutting.

The end results are all these different types of shaped pieces that will be assembled to create the zellige mosaic patterns.  The production process lasts between 1 and 3 months depending on its size.

Sounds like a piece of cake, right? Okay, it might not be an easy process…but it is super rewarding in the end! …  For more, check our workshop Ateliers – Art Naji

But the question here is, are they truly for every house?? Let’s explore…

CAN I PUT ZELLIGE TILE IN EVERY STYLE OF HOME ?

Good news!! 🎉🥳

Zellige is by no means limited to ornamental applications. You can play with color in your home, so your zellige can look modern or classical it’s all depending on your style and the color of tile you choose, by selecting blue, green, pink, or even black Zellige. Colored Zellige can either be rich or mild, dressed up or dressed down. It’s all in how you pair it with other finishes.

But before covering your interiors in glorious Zellige Tiles, we urge you to save some pieces to create a tropical sanctuary in your exterior space, but keep in mind, the Zellige has a very strong personality, so you have to be a strategist, position it on a single section of wall and associate it with complementary, mineral and refined materials.

Now it’s your time to transform your home into an escapist paradise, one tile at a time.!!

Finally, if you do love zellige, we can’t blame you. the glamourous shining and the rich history has us obsessing! so now tell us, what color Zellige can you see yourself using in your home? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to keep an eye out for Art Naji.

Moroccan Zellige  (also known as Moroccan tiles, zellige terracotta tiles, and zellij) is a Moroccan surface coating that is more trendy than ever.

Moroccan Zellige  (also known as Moroccan tiles, zellige terracotta tiles, and zellij) is a Moroccan surface coating that is more trendy than ever.

Moroccan Zellige  (also known as Moroccan tiles, zellige terracotta tiles, and zellij) is a Moroccan surface coating that is more trendy than ever.

Of course not! For all that people who are exhausted by modern and monotonous life but still daydreaming of exhilarating yet different details, plus an architecture that embodies beauty and originality. Allow Me to offer you a journey to a land that’s home to numerous and wealthy cultures. A land seeped in history and tradition, wherever the distinct design attracts the eye to a tapestry of vivid colors and sophisticated patterns.
This land is Morocco aka the home of hidden secrets and the exquisite beauty that has been spread throughout the world.