Moroccan Architecture and Design

I have just returned from Marrakesh, where I visited lots of places and became obsessed with the patterns used in their tiles and decorations.  Situated in Northern Africa, as one of the only three countries to have a coastline along both the Atlantic and Mediterranean, Morocco is extremely diverse, with residents that are Arab, Berber, and many European and sub-Saharan African immigrants. The interior design that originates in Morocco reflects this diverse area, rich in cultural traditions and history. Characterized by intricate carvings, arched doorways, and colorful dyes it should come as no surprise that Moroccan interior design has become quite popular around the world.   The pigments all come from the area, and are mainly from crushed stones, these are widely sold in herbalist shops including the famous Majorelle blue.

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Tiles:

In the Palaces and Mosques, Zellige tiles are made featuring intricate carvings, inlaid tesserae and bright coloured hues.  The design tends to revolve around a 6 or 8 point motif with repeating patterns.  Even flower patterns are made from geometric smaller shapes.

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Painted Decoration:

Doors, lintels, ceilings and pretty much anywhere that is not tiles is hand painted.  Again, the repetitive 6 or 8 points are commnly used, but also flowers and natural forms.

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The craftmanship is amazing, and it takes many years for the artists to train in this ancient skill.  All of the photos in the post are of ancient tiles and paintings in the Bahia Palace and Ben Youssef Madrasa in Marrakesh, and their hues are as vivid now as when they were created.

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