Tadelakt is probably the most well known local craft and is a stunning addition to interior design. It is a decorative and functional plaster finish that originally used the natural resources of the Marrakech region to give a lime based highly polished finish.
There is no standard method to creating tadelakt. Whilst the desired result is a highly polished finish the method of getting there is passed down from master craftsman to apprentice and each craftsman will have his own variation and preferences for achieving the desired finish. However, tadelakt gets its name from the process involved and literally means massage or caress. This is hard work. The finish can be achieved through applying olive oil soap or through a delicate rubbing of stone or through a serrage process which uses a local product blended with white spirit or sometimes all three process. Whichever process is used it is a lot of rubbing and polishing.
The result is a smooth, but rustic, waterproof finish that is unique in appearance. As the surface dries it can form beautiful cracks that give a mottled appearance. The cracks can initially appear alarming but they are part of the appearance and are also waterproofed in the same way as the main wall or floor.
Tadelakt is now applied on a number of surfaces and pots and vases are becoming a popular souvenir of Marrakech.
At Riad Al-Bushra we have installed tadelakt in all of our bathrooms and have a band of tadelakt going right through all the rooms from the floor up the wall to 75cm. It looks beautiful but is a high maintenance product. It requires regular waterproofing and general care but is well worth the effort. The only real negative to tadelakt is the relatively soft texture and an inability to patch the product. If damage or maintenance is needed then the whole wall needs to be replaced as the colour matching is extremely challenging.
At Riad Al-Bushra we have kept to the tradition of local tadelakt by keeping to a restrictive natural colour palette. professionals reproducing tadelakt in other countries are able to offer a wider range of colours due to the use of alternative additives. But we have tried to remain faithful to the colours of Marrakech.
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