All the plants and home decor items that you add to your gardens and outdoor spaces may hold their own significance or symbolism for you. Roses symbolise love and passion, eucalyptus trees symbolise strength and purity, and then there are countless symbols that can be found in your garden statues and other pieces of decor.
Sometimes, however, you add design elements to your garden space that are just for you – that transport you back to a faraway time and place, and transform your outdoor space into a world of its own. That unique quality is one of many that make our Moroccan tile fountains as popular and sought after as they are.
Made with authentic zellige mosaic tiles, our Moroccan tile fountains make a superb, sun-kissed focal point for virtually all garden spaces. But their intricate pattern work and eclectic array of colours can make them a little intimidating to style. That’s why we’ve put this tailored style guide together.
In this blog we will be discussing:
What are mosaic zellige fountains?
First, let’s start by deepening your understanding of the mosaic zellige fountain and of its own significance and symbolism. Mosaic zellige fountains are water fountains that are made with hand-chiselled mosaic tiles. The cut, colouring, groutless or gapless tile arrangement, and geometric pattern work of the tiles is what sets mosaic zellige fountains aside from other types of mosaic fountains. Authentic mosaic zellige fountains are usually designed and built in Morocco by dedicated artisans that are trained in the art of zellige tile production.
Mosaic zellige fountains are typically wall-mounted fountains, making them the perfect addition to any outdoor space with particularly drab-looking external walls. It’s rare to find zellige tile work that isn’t attached to walls, floors, or ceilings, as the style was predominantly developed for architectural design purposes.
What is a zellige mosaic tile?
The zellige style of mosaic tile work originated in North Africa and can be observed in the architectural stylings of mosques and other Islamic sites across Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. One of the oldest mosaic tiling styles in the world, the zellige method can be traced all the way back to the 10th century, although it’s believed that the style wasn’t used to adorn fountains and pools until the 14th century.
The word ‘zellige’ itself originates from the Arabic word ‘zalaja’, which means ‘to slide’. This refers to the smooth and glossy surface of the tiles and the method of placing tiles side-by-side rather than leaving gaps or grout between tiles. The finished result is an uninterrupted geometric or tessellated mosaic design that usually looks like a burst of fireworks or stars. These tessellations are a common feature in Islamic art and architecture, with the zellige style also influencing Spanish and Portuguese architecture from the 16th century onwards.
How are our mosaic zellige fountains produced?
To be authentic, all mosaic zellige fountains pattern work should be completed by highly skilled Moroccan craftsmen. Thankfully, that’s exactly how we source our zellige mosaic fountains here at Fountain Store.
All of our authentic mosaic zellige fountains are built in the city of Fes, Morocco, which is considered to be the birthplace of the zellige method. Our Moroccan artisans cut and arrange each tile by hand, meaning that no two fountains in our collection are actually the same – you get a perfectly unique and one-of-a-kind mosaic zellige fountain every time. Depending on the intricacy of the zellige tile work, a single mosaic fountain can take upwards of weeks to complete.
And if you’re currently worrying about how heavy these fountains might be if they’re composed of hundreds of hard-carved tiles, rest assured that our designers in Morocco considered that too. Instead of being built with concrete, our mosaic zellige fountains actually have a resin construction. Their resin build not only makes our mosaic zellige fountains a lot easier to transport, but it also provides a smoother base for placing zellige tiles. As zellige tile patterns typically don’t involve grout, a resin base can reduce the risk of unseemly gaps between your expertly placed mosaic tiles.
How to style your mosaic zellige fountain
So how exactly do you style this mesmerising pop of colour and culture in your own garden space? Thankfully, this task is a lot easier than you may expect it to be. As your mosaic zellige fountain is undeniably a statement piece, it can work well in a wide range of garden design schemes, ranging from minimalist and contemporary gardens to your more loud and vibrant Bohemian garden spaces.
And as the mosaic zellige method was introduced to the rest of Europe in the 16th century, your mosaic zellige fountain can also pair perfectly with Spanish- and Portuguese-inspired decor. This means that virtually any decor item in our Andalusian Moorish art collection is sure to pair perfectly with your new mosaic zellige fountain.
Finally, your mosaic zellige fountains do possess glossy tiles, which means the way that these fountains catch the light is a sight to behold in itself. That’s what makes the mosaic zellige style such a popular choice for fountains, as the reflections of water on the tile work in full sun produce a strikingly shiny effect. You can recreate this effect by styling your mosaic zellige fountains with evening lighting. Consider adding candle holders to your garden so that you can continue watching the way that light plays with your mosaic zellige fountain all throughout the evening.
How to care for your mosaic zellige fountain
Our mosaic zellige fountains are designed to be weather-resistant, which makes caring for them a pretty simple task. All you need to do is sponge your mosaic zellige tiles with a little water and maybe some lemon solution to softly remove any dirt or dust from their surface. We recommend emptying your mosaic zellige fountain if you’re looking to conduct a thorough cleaning of its basin and wall. All of our mosaic zellige fountains come equipped with an integrated pump, so you will find filling and emptying your fountain to be a quick and easy task as well.
And don’t be concerned about any marks or imperfections on your mosaic zellige tile work. As all the tiles are hand-chiselled, uniformity between tiles is impossible. But that’s part of the charm of these unique water fountains.
There’s nothing quite like expressing yourself through your garden design. Adding plants and decor items that celebrate your life, your experiences, and all the things that bring you joy is truthfully one of the best ways that you can hope to do up your garden space.
If you want to keep a little bit of the world and your wider adventures in your home space, then adding a mosaic zellige fountain to your garden is sure to provide that special touch of colour and culture that you’ve been looking for.
Explore our full collection of water features right here to find the focal point of your dream backyard design today.