The historical roots of the ancient coating method known as Tadelakt, date back to Morocco of the 11th century A.D. Craftsmen began to use limestone extracted from the plateau of Marrakesh, in order to waterproof the cisterns in which rain-water was collected. In time, this method was widely applied in royal palaces and soon after in mosques, hammams and baths. Ancient secrets of the craft passed on from generation to generation to specialized craftsmen and it is still in use by a few specialists. It nowadays comprises the most traditional coating method used throughout Marrakesh and it deservingly holds the title of the most aesthetically beautiful and unique in its application method.
Hard as a rock, soft like silk!
Tadelakt (arab. تدلاكت - Tadla: kt) in Berber means ‘to rub/to massage’. It is one of the few methods which employ only natural raw materials; it is ideal for humid areas and it can be applied onto walls, floors, washing basins, baths and bath tabs. This traditional method was almost lost until it was revived and became particularly popular in Europe and beyond. What makes tadelakt method unique is its ability to form a glazed and impermeable surface, created by the coating of an olive oil-made soap and the rubbing of the surface with stones. This technique demands high stamina, accuracy and synchronized labour combined with a focused and dynamic way of work on behalf of the technician.
The plasticity of tadelakt allows for the shaping of soft curves and angles. The final result is impressive since it creates the atmosphere a room carved into and glazed from a piece of rock. In the internal, the glaze forms natural cracks which are visible only through a close examination. These cracks emerge when the surface comes in contact with water and they gradually fade out when it dries again. This special characteristic adds to the overall impressive result of the final product.
Limestone from Marrakesh is unique in its kind due to its high hydraulic abilities. By examining and applying the use of local, raw materials of the Minoan Civilization and based on archaeologists’ research who report their use in antiquity, we managed to create an equally strong and effective coating such as that of Morocco. It is a coating which not only lasts throughout time but it actually constitutes a part of it: today, the same materials are used for the conservation and restoration of ancient buildings.
The high in alkalised particles of tadelakt, prevent from mould and it is easy to clean with olive-oil diluted in water.