The Zellige Tile Trend Designers Can’t Seem to Get Enough Of | Architectural Digest

For centuries, hand-cut mosaic tiles called Zellige (also Zelige or Zellig), made from a particular clay mixture found in Morocco, have covered walls, fountains, pools, floors, and more across the western Islamic world. And recently, the age-old decoration—likely a spin-off from Byzantine mosaics—is having a resurgence across the globe. 

But in its latest incarnation, the Zellige tile trend is veering away from the traditional mosaic and into monochromatic territory as designers apply shimmering surfaces of a single glazed hue to surfaces in kitchens, bathrooms, and more.

bathroom covered in turquoise zellige tiles

Zellige tile by Clé wraps walls and floors in a bathroom in Nicole Hollis’s Bay Area home. 

Photo: Douglas Friedman

“The glazing, color, and imperfection of Zellige tiles evoke their handmade quality,” explains AD100 designer Nicole Hollis, who wrapped a bathroom in her own San Francisco house in a turquoise blue version from Clé. “I prefer using one color in showers,” Hollis adds. “Because the glazes are hand applied, no two tiles are exactly the same. It creates a watercolor effect.” The tiles’ varying thickness only adds to the drama.

Precisely this look—in a rainbow of hues—has been infiltrating a slew of AD100-designed homes. ASH NYC recently used the tiles (also from Clé) in a powder room in Tribeca. Giancarlo Valle used creamy swaths of them (on hearths, sinks, and bathroom walls) in a colorful Manhattan town house. And when it came time for Clements Design and Waldo Fernandez to design supermodel Kendall Jenner’s pool bath in L.A., in went a heap of mosaic tile by Badia Design.

powder room covered in tan zellige tiles

AD100 firm ASH NYC clad this Tribeca powder room with tiles by Clé.

Photo: Miguel Flores-Vianna

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