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While Mosaic House is a contemporary tile company offering an extensive line of mosaic tiles and bath products inspired by Moroccan design, our work can be interpreted in many different ways. A brief introduction to terms used by designers and on our website can be helpful.

French tile or carreaux ciment is often used to describe cement tile or encaustic cement tile. As a former French colony, French art and French architecture have left indelible marks on the designers and architects of Morocco. Moroccan fabric and Moroccan furniture, as well as mosaic tile and encaustic tile show traces of this influence even today. For decades, many architects, designers and artists trained in French schools and universities, as well as Líecole des beaux arts, have created a range of tile work. Requesting Art Deco tile, as well as traditional tile and antique tile, these designers have fueled an explosion of creativity in modern Moroccan tile. Mosaic House is pleased to have teamed up with many of them in the tile making process. Among these projects are handmade tile with Moroccan colors based on French fabric designs and old French tile. Islamic fabric, Turkish fabric and tile and other sources have also entered the mix.

Many of our clients share with us their experiences while visiting Andalusia. For centuries, Moorish design and Spanish art coexisted throughout the Hispano Moresque region. From Granada to Cordoba and Seville, Moorish tile, Moorish architecture and Moorish fountains are very much in evidence. The overlaps between Spanish tile and Moroccan tile are inescapable to anyone who has visited the homes, gardens and palaces of southern Spain. In fact, Mosaic House was tapped to work on the restoration of the Alhambra. Echoes of this shared tradition can be heard across the Atlantic in both Mexican tile and Cuban tile.

Moroccan tiles can also be understood within the framework of Islamic Art. Arabesque tiles, and arabesques in general, can be found throughout Moroccan architecture. This tendency toward abstraction and non-representation in Moroccan zellige tile reflects an all-encompassing and decentralized view of God. Arabic art is also evident in the many Moroccan fountains found throughout the region in cities like Fes and Marrakech. As water represents life, special care has always been paid to the embellishment of wet environments. Moroccan bathrooms, kitchen backsplashes and hamams are often showpieces of Moroccan mosaic tiles. Ceramic Moroccan tiles grace many communal fountains in countless Moroccan kasbahs.

Moroccan culture is also a product of its position on the sea. Mediterranean tile and handmade Moroccan tile are quite similar. Mediterranean architecture has long made use of encaustic tile and ceramic. The Moroccan Riad is in fact very similar in layout and design to the Mediterranean villa. In Moroccan interior design, Moresque tiles decorate every surface. Moroccan tables and furniture are often embellished with tilework. Moroccan murals are complimented by mosaic borders and tile stair risers. Moorish exterior design continues the theme. Moroccan terra cotta tiles decorate the patio, pool and sidewalk.

Mosharabi, also known as mashrabiah, mosharabia, or mousharabieh are hand carved wooden lattice screens and are another traditional Moorish craft. Allowing for light and air, but preserving privacy, these wood panels are ideal for doors, windows or other architectural elements.Each hand-crafted piece is made to order allowing limitless possibilities for the designer.

Handmade tile is not a static art form, many notable projects continue to employ zellij tile in luxury hotels and resorts. La Mamounia, Sofitelís Palais Jamais, the Standard Hotel, the Bowery Hotel, the Greenwich Hotel, the Four Seasons, and Julian Schabelís Palazzo Chupi are just a few of the recent large scale projects for which Mosaic House has supplied ceramic tile.

Moroccan furniture: Often elaborately carved, Moroccan furniture includes such key elements as poufs and tea tables.

Related terms: Moorish design, Moorish craft

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