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Anyone who has visited Morocco and other North African lands will have been left enchanted by the A Thousand and One Nights settings, from the decadent pomp of the imperial cities, the enveloping scents of the local markets and the suspended atmospheres of the lush Riads, hidden among intricate streets.
For definite, the most characteristic and evocative element of Morocco is in fact the Riad, from the Arabic for “gardens” or “leisure”, a complex of rooms, internal gardens and courtyards, almost always on several floors and enriched with fountains and decorated majolica tiles. Regardless of the size and personal taste of its inhabitants, all the Riads have some essential features, typical of the Moorish ethnic style: simple, severe lines, domes and intertwined arches, stuccos and ceramics with refined decoration and reliefs.
Ceramic is one of the favourite materials in Moroccan construction, chosen for its incredible resistance and versatility: ceramic floor and wall tiles can offer an infinite choice of different decorations, geometric patterns and 3D reliefs, inspired by motifs from the past or by completely new trends. Porcelain tiles can be adapted for both indoor and outdoor applications, resistant as they are to the elements and to large temperature fluctuations: ceramic is perfect in lending continuity to the hybrid spaces of the Riads and in resisting the differences between day and night temperatures typical of this part of North Africa.
The Moroccan ethnic style, so lively, chic and elaborate, has managed to win everyone over, from fashion greats such as Yves Saint Laurent, owner of the famous Majorelle Garden in Marrakech, to politicians, prominent personalities and above all, internationally renown architects and designers. Thanks to them, the Moroccan style has also landed in the West, and is increasingly used in contemporary interior design projects. Evocative and welcoming, ethnic furnishings are incredibly appreciated by the general public, who aim to reproduce them in their residential spaces, to a greater or lesser extent.
But what are the indispensable elements for creating Moroccan-style exotic atmospheres at home?
Fundamental are the concepts of space and airiness: to convey senses of freedom, you need to look for high ceilings, large bright rooms, domes and arches, perhaps overlooking lush gardens or small exteriors, with attention to the smallest details. If you only have a small space at your disposal, focus at least on open spaces - doors are absolutely banned, because they are barriers to movement and light!
You need to also pay close attention to the choice of colours, especially for the floor and wall tiles: to design enveloping, calming contexts you can choose warm, natural and dusty finishes or, to create more lively and energizing environments instead, you can take a chance on more decisive, brighter shades, inspired by the colours of spices, such as ochre yellow, orange and terracotta, or the shades of the sea.
If you want to recreate refined, ethnic atmospheres, don’t miss the Overclay floor and wall tiles, a desert-inspired porcelain tile collection that proposes 7 different authentic, captivating tones. The sinuous shades of the Petra decoration represent the final accent for authentic classy interiors.
To design even more captivating exotic interiors, on the other hand, you can opt for small-sized majolica tiles, in bright glazes and colours. Like those of Maiolica and Storie d’Italia, two porcelain tile collections that immediately bring to mind the azulejos - or al-zulayj – inevitable in every traditional Moroccan and Arabic construction. These floor and wall tiles feature sunny colours and geometric-floral motifs with great aesthetic impact, perfect for designing lively decorative rugs in the living area, for featuring the kitchen and sink area or giving the bathroom or shower enclosure a creative touch
Are you thinking about how to transform your bathroom? Why not take inspiration from the fascinating Moroccan hammams, and turn your bathroom into a temple of peace and wellbeing?! A shower or a large bathtub with whirlpool jets, light effects, soft towels, bath salts and perfumed oils cannot be left out. For floor and wall tiles, you can opt for surfaces with marble effect and precious mosaics or with stone effect and natural shades, such as Soul Bay. This new collection of wall tiles is designed to give environments a fascinating, almost dreamlike allure, thanks to its refined palette and surfaces with an authentic touch. Soul Bay fully expresses its exotic personality through Flowery, a decoration inspired by arabesque wallpapers.
To emphasise the ethnic character of your home, you can then add ethnic pieces of furniture, such as rugs, inlaid low tables to be matched with cushions and ground-level seating, handmade furniture, wrought iron lanterns and arabesque prints. And you can have fun with even more touches of style, such as natural, textured fabrics, such as wool, raw cotton or cactus silk, perfect for curtains, cushions and sheets with an authentic flavour. To create the right atmosphere, choose warm lights, install lighting systems that allow you to dim the intensity from natural to soft, and don't forget candles and scented incense.
If you want to redo your garden or other outdoor space in an ethnic style, focus on succulent or tropical plants, brightly coloured flowers, handmade terracotta pots and colourful curtains, a real tribute to Bedouin tents. Also for Outdoor environments, do not forget to add wooden or wrought iron tables, poufs and low seats, making them more comfortable with the addition of colourful cushions. For the patio or covered outdoor areas why not even consider an oriental rug? Afternoons in the garden are transformed into moments of pure relaxation, in a lovely escape from the city frenzy.
If you want to transform your home into a unique, charming and welcoming space, ethnic style is what you were looking for!