Studio Shesh and Tadelakt

The Mold

In Moroccan "Tabut" – is made of poplar wood. It has seven elements:

E – lengthwise boards (Tabut); D – widthwise boards; A – three pairs of vertical wooden pegs; B – horizontal wooden poles that are used for foundation and for fastening of the vertical pegs; C – ropes; F – handles (holes drilled in the lengthwise boards); G – a stick, about 60 cm long, which is used as a scale. The mold is a functional container for the compressed earth.

The Work Process

First, the mold is placed in its correct position, and then the ropes are stretched to create a leveled wall. The Mualem stands inside the mold, and the workers hand over to him baskets full of moist earth. After even filling of about 10-15 cm, the Mualem steps on it with his feet and continues to compress the earth using a hammer (normally made of juniper wood). The hammer is held by the left hand, compressing from left to right in even strokes. The edges are compressed first, then the center. The whole body works. The object:  to get air out of the earth and create adhesion. The compression motions are accompanied by rhythmic shouts which can be heard all over the valley. The mold is filled all the way, and then leveled out. The mold filling takes about 3/4 of an hour and about 7-8 filling cycles can be done per day. The mold is removed and the construction continues immediately after the filling is completed, by dragging: the two left vertical pegs are disassembled, and the closer pair remains fastened in place. The whole mold is dragged to the right, while creating an overlapping segment with the previous construction segment. The Mualem positions the mold, measures with the scale and a plumb the wall's leveling, and then stretches the ropes again. An additional level will be constructed only after the setting of the lower level for two days. The construction, like with bricks construction, is done by using alternating method, in order to prevent long vertical cracks.


Plaster and Finishing Methods

The "Luch" construction method leaves holes in places where the mold's fastening poles were positioned. Firstly the holes need to be filled with stones or with a mixture of earth and straw. Then earth plaster is applied in a few layers on both sides of the walls. In certain places like the windows and door frames and the gutters, a waterproof plaster is applied – the Tadelakt.



A unique coating method from Morocco based on using special lime originating from Marrakesh area. The limestone goes through burning, and after "extinguishing" it by water, it turns into lime with top sealing properties and high resistance to water.

This coating is used for exterior and interior plastering, also for coating of floors, baths and table surfaces, especially in hammam buildings, in palaces and in the "riyad" – the urban residential buildings built around a courtyard.

After applying the plaster, leveling out with stream pebbles and coating with black soap, a smooth gleaming surface is received. The plaster can be colored with natural pigments and painted upon using fresco method.

According to tradition, the Tadelakt was discovered by the Barbarians during the middle ages. Initially it was used for coating of water wells only, and later on used in Hammam's and palaces.


The earth walls need to be protected from water. The most effective mean is by a waterproof roof. Separate walls or barriers would have their own awning made of cane or clay tiles laid in a two sided slope.

Buildings would have flat roofing. The roof is built by wooden beams placed lengthwise and crosswise. First the long thick beams are placed (made of poplar, juniper or oak wood). The length of the beam will dictate the width of the space available for construction. Perpendicular to those beams, branches or thin wooden beams will be placed to create a dense surface. On top of that would be laid a layer of thorny shrubs, and next would be placed layers of earth and straw. The last earth layer would be compressed using a roller.
The last layer would be renewed as the need arises.

While preparing the earth layers, the builders will take care to make slight slopes toward the edges of the roof. During rainfall, the water would flow on the compressed clay layer, drain into the "Tadelakt" coated gutters and out to the street.

In the rural areas the roofs are used as work areas: for drying agricultural produce, for storage and as a threshing facility, where the grain is threshed with two mules tied to a wooden pole in the center of the roof.

The room ceilings are potential places for ornamenting and decorating as far as the builders' talent and inspiration can take them. The placement of beams and the reeds or branches upon them, can be made while creating geometrical patterns.

Moroccan plaster (Tadelakt) is a perfect solution for unique finishing in wet rooms: bath rooms and saunas, and is a perfect alternative for different flooring tiles. This plaster is excellent in protecting from water and resisting mildew. It has a very smooth surface with distinct visual depth.

Tadelakt plaster has been used in the past and still used today as traditional coating for palaces and Hammam's in Morocco, also its relics can be found in archeological sites.

During recent years, following growing demand for "green" and environmentally friendly construction materials, also in the West the Tadelakt has been discovered and is used extensively, especially in Europe.

The meaning of the word "tadel" in Moroccan is massage. In processing the material on its intended surface, stream pebbles are used for compressing and leveling the plaster on the wall. This process is a little similar to massaging, hence its name.
In the end of the process, the surface received is very smooth, elegant looking, glistening and waterproof.

The option to make one surface and avoid the use of various tiles, allows designing the bathroom or any other space in the house, in a most unique way, giving a striking impression. It is also an excellent solution for the problem of mildew build-up in the caulk between the tiles and the walls.

The special process applied on the plaster and its waterproof properties make it suitable for coating of sinks, swimming pools, benches or any other surface that could be imagined. Tadelakt plaster is very pleasant to the touch and feels like natural polished stone.

This plaster can be applied on all building infrastructures.

In Latin: Tadlac, means in Moroccan to massage / massage.

It is plaster finishing which looks like the "Marmorin".

Processing of the plaster surface using flint stones creates a wall surface with an especially smooth and opaque texture which was made in structures built hundreds of years ago.

The use of Tadelakt functions well for wet spaces and elements, such as water wells, Rahats (drinking troughs) and bath houses. These days, the technology is used among others in bath rooms.

Tadelakt is a thick layer which is made in the last stages of applying the plaster, and enables working with uneven walls.

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Tadelakt – pool cladding / bath cladding / pool painting / bath painting

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