Tadelakt is original Morrocan water-resistent plasterwork. Traditionally applied in the Royal Hammans, tadelakt will be a charming and natural choice for bathroom, kitchen and other areas.
Tadelakt is a special mixture of lime. Its build with various layers of thin render mixed with natural pigments. The last hours it’s polished with a semi-precious stone and finished with special olive oil soap.
WHAT IS TADELAKT?
Tadelakt is Lime. With intensive handwork …and skillfull application it creates a solid, smooth and …waterresistent finish. It’s a natural product.
The lime powder (originaly from Marrakech) is mixed with natural pigments. After carefull measuring, mixing and adding the right amount of water – it becomes a lime paste ready to apply and create tadelakt! The lime paste is applied in minimum 2 thin layers. The last layer, when reached the right density is polished with a special stone. All together 1 area of application will take 6 – 12 hours. One person can do 4-8 m2 of tadelakt a day.
Tadelakt was first discovered in Marocco, Marrakech. The lime dug and burned from that area was special. This special mix of natural elements found in the limestone, together with skillfull application turned the lime into a very beautiful and water resistent finish layer!! Inicialy it may have been used to waterproof water reservoirs but it soon became a fancy solution for the famous hammams.
Recently Tadelakt and its popularity has grown immensly. Disadvantages that came with the original lime from marrakech, gave rise to various Ecological building companies within Europe now providing even better quality of Tadelakt and the tools with whom one applies.
Tadelakt now is a material used in both conventional and ecological building. Its both decorative and functional. Its often used featuring small surfaces like chimneys, doorways, decorative borders and for artistic effects. And more and more tadelakt becomes a usefull product for entire bathrooms, spa’s, hammam, kitchens and more.
Tadelakt is a very shapeable material: Sinks, bathtubs, all kind of forms can be finished with Tadelakt The natural pigments can create numerous colors.
Tadelakt is handwork. Application is done with a lot of care and skill. We can organise Tadelakt planning, design and execution for areas both big and small. For more information email : Tadelakt@gmail.com
A lot of inspiration, ideas and pictures concerning tadelakt can be found online.
Tadelakt of Marrakesh Tadelakt in Arabic means caressing, massaging. The craftsmanship of rendering a wall with Tadelakt passes by this very concept. It needs to be done with care and it needs to be maintained with care. It is, never the less, a living organism.
The technique of Tadelakt emerged during the construction of the city walls of Marrakech. No one knows for sure how it came to its attention. Some inhabitants say it was by chance, while working with lime they notice that it could became a very smooth and shinny surface….
After its discovery, this technique was extensively used by the inhabitants inside the traditional steam baths and the cisterns of the city.
An interesting detail is that the soap used by the bathing people inside the steam baths is the same soap used to transform the lime walls water repellent. Without the application of the soap the walls would be just like any other conventional lime plaster render.This soap is made from olives and is sold in any drugstore trough out the city.
It is essential to the character of the Tadelakt as we know it. The soap should be applied the day (or 6 to 8 hours) after the lime has been set on the wall. It should also be used for cleaning the Tadelakt and for maintaining it during the years. If you prefer a more shiny finish you can use wax.
The extraction of the lime and its cooking is made in a very rudimentary and traditional ovens. In this system its has not yet been introduced any systematic or technology in their manufacturing techniques.
Because of that the Moroccan Tadelakt is much more irregular than any other European mixture that try to re-create the tadelakt mix.
This process result in a very eclectic grain size composition. It is almost unpredictable to work with, since we can’t control what happens with it before it arrive to our hands. Many times it is full of stones, or ashes, or big pieces of lime, etc… maybe we need to strained it, maybe we need to crush it. For sure we need to study and approach it with patience!
This irregularity is reflected on to the walls where it is applied. With several cracks and chromatic changes. But in the other hand, the simplicity and precariousness, of the construction process in Morocco, that have lead frequently to leaks in plumbing or layer movements of the walls. Leading house owners to make often repairs creates an imperfect Tadelakt, very different from one that is demand by our clients in Europe. Architects and decorators want a perfect finish and not a constant changing wall, that needs maintenance – tadelakt is a living organism – ! And most people aim for a finished space. So this is our biggest challenged!
Tadelakt is present on all the walls of the city of Marrakech, and outside and inside of the houses. It is part of this city in every way. This lime is only found in the riverbanks of the Anti-Altas, just behind Marrakech. Were the rains are bringing together all the geologic components that make this lime mix so special.
Also the stones use to polish are found in the same river. This stones need to be strong to be able to face the tadelakt and not be dinted by it. They are in 6 in the diamond scale.
The city gets colored with red pigment (the famous red Marrakech). With the ocher and the brown of the earth walls. Later with its diffusion of Tadelakt through Europe other colors became frequent, such as blue and green.
However the difficulty of working with this material we are always amaze with the creative capacity of the Moroccan artisans – most probably because they have been working with it for more that 1000 years and have explored most of its capacity’s-. The decorative elements, introduced inside and outside of the houses, are incredibly beautiful and diverse. It is use either in the most delicate objects or in the big doors of the city walls when hundreds of people and cars pass every day.
A 30-minute wall in the streets of Marrackeh would give us hours our conversations team to present. They re-invent the technique with different forms, colors, and uses still today.