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Zellige Tile for Commercial Spaces

A Brief History of Zellige Tiles

Zellige (also spelled zellij or zillij and pronounced “zee-LEEJE “) tile is a glossy striking Moroccan tile that has become very trendy in recent years. There are few tiles with as much history and influence as the Moroccan zellige tiles. These shimmery hand-made tiles have been around for thousands of years. Fragments of Zellige tiles have been discovered in Tunisia, possibly dating from the mid-10th to the mid-11th centuries, suggesting the technique may have originated in the western Islamic world in that period.

Zellige-making is considered an art itself, with master artisans passing the skill from generation to generation. Zellige tile training usually begins in childhood, with an average zellige apprenticeship lasting ten years!  The tiles are made meticulously by hand, crafted from unrefined clay found in Fez, Morocco. The artisans press the clay mixture into a square grid and let it dry out. Using a shaping block and hammer, they smooth the tiles and cut them into precise shapes and sizes. They apply enamel glazing by hand and only to the front of the tiles.

Zellige_factory n Fex, Morocco

Zellige Factory in Fex, Morocco

What Makes Authentic Zellige Tiles Tricky For Commercial Spaces

Authentic zellige tiles from Morocco are stunning, but the tiles can be impractical, especially for commercial spaces. Zellige tiles are beautiful because they are hand-cut, but it’s the hand-cut charm that makes it quite challenging to get a flat, even surface with these tiles— some of the edges will protrude rather than lay flush, making the surface difficult to clean. The tiles’ edges are also quite sharp, so the unevenness can cause them to snag things like fabrics or skin when wiping the tiles down.

There’s another installation issue that can be a hurdle, and that’s the grout. All the zellige installation guides instruct not to use a grout joint. The tiles should be butt jointed, with no spacers, right up next to each other. Ideally, there should be no space between the tiles and no visible grout. Getting invisible or nearly invisible grout joints with these irregular tiles requires a skilled installer with specific experience installing zellige tiles. These installation issues can create substantial labor costs.

With inflation looming over every project lately, material costs are a big consideration. Because zellige tiles are one of Morocco’s most valued and recognizable art forms, they are not inexpensive.  Adding even more to the cost, specifiers may want to increase a zellige tile order by 20-25 percent because a number of tiles will have imperfections, ranging from hairline cracks and edge chips to pits and chips throughout the glaze.

For a commercial application, and especially if the glazed tiles will be exposed to moisture, it’s best to seal the tiles to protect the grout and any cracks, crazing, or pits. The tiles will likely need resealing periodically as well.

Getting the Look of Zellige Tiles Without the Problems

Fortunately, ceramic zellige-look tiles are an excellent alternative for getting the amazing look of handmade Zellige tiles without the installation hurdles and higher costs. Our Zellige wall tile offers the look of the timeless handmade tiles at a fraction of the cost. Standard installation procedures apply, so it’s not necessary to hire a zellige expert to install them. These zellige-look ceramic tiles do not require sealing, and clean-up and maintenance are a breeze.


GIO zellige color swatches composition

GIO Tile is committed to being at the forefront of commercial design, bringing you only the finest commercial-grade products, hand-picked from global sources based on our focused knowledge of what you need to transform commercial spaces. Contact us anytime – we’re here to work with you!

Photo Credit: Dan Lundberg, Zellige factory-24116015119, CC BY-SA 2.0

A Look at GIO’s Latest & Greatest Tile Collections

Here at GIO, we’re always on the prowl for the most advanced, sophisticated tile products for commercial interiors. We’ve recently returned from the 39th edition of Cersaie, the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings, which takes place in Bologna, Italy. Cersaie is the foremost international event for designers of ceramic tile and other surface coverings. The 2022 show recorded over 90,000 attendees from all over the world during the five days of the exhibition. The fifteen pavilions of the Bologna Exhibition Centre (140,000 square meters of surface area!) were fully occupied by 624 companies, including 354 from the ceramic tile sector.

It was thrilling to see some of the world’s most innovative ceramic surfacing products. Shows of this caliber inform and inspire so we can bring you the finest commercial-grade tile products the world has to offer. Always assessing our offerings to ensure we’re bringing you the best of the best, we’ve retired a few lines to make way for fresh options that are sure to inspire upcoming tile specifications. We’re proud to continuously offer a range of on-trend, sophisticated products to transform your commercial design projects. Here’s a look at what’s new and now:


Mural floor and wall tile brings the bold art of nature to your interior designs in a daring collection of polished 24×48 tiles in two stunning groupings —sumptuous stone looks and two animal-inspired styles.

Mural tile in Aqua Onyx, Azul, Leopard, and Snake

Mural, shown here in Aqua Onyx, Azul, Leopard, and Snake


Statuarietto Bianco for floors and walls offers a big, bold marble look with luxurious veining and a large format up to 60″ x 120″.  The line is available in honed or polished finishes.

GIO Statuarietto Bianco, 30 x 30 Polished & Rectified

Statuarietto Bianco, shown here in 30″ x 30″ Polished & Rectified


Inspired by Moroccan tile, Zellige wall tile comes in a beautiful array of nine colors, brilliantly glazed for vintage variation.

GIO Zellige, Suk Black 5 x 5 copy

Zellige, shown in Suk Black, 5″ x 5″


In polished or matte finishes and large formats, Agata for floors and walls celebrates onyx inspiration in an expressive dance of swirling blue hues.

GIO Agata, 24 x 48 Polished & Rectified

Agata, shown in 24″ x 48″ Polished & Rectified


Linea floor and wall tile offers the timeless style of vein-cut stone in enduring porcelain with palatial sizes, two finishes, and four neutral hues.

GIO Linea, Grey 24x48 Polished & Rectified Field Tile 


Workshop floor and wall tile isn’t new; it’s an old friend that’s been with us since the beginning. But we’ve recently refreshed the line to bring in new finishes (honed, linear, and flamed) and some gorgeous on-trend hues that you’re sure to love.

GIO Workshop, Sage 12 x 24 Linear Rectified Field Tile

Workshop, shown in Sage 12″ x 24″ Linear Rectified

GIO Tile is committed to being at the forefront of commercial design, bringing you only the finest commercial-grade products, hand-picked from global sources based on our focused knowledge of what you need to transform commercial spaces. We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the latest and greatest of the finest commercial-grade tile products available! Samples for these lines, in addition to all our tile collections, are available free to the trade. Contact us anytime – we’re here to work with you!


GIO Tile Looks at Commercial Tile Trends for Walls

Ceramic tile—including the exceptionally high-performing porcelain tile category—is without a doubt, the right choice in a post-COVID world.  When it comes to commercial surfacing, tile is especially a no-brainer for floors, and it should be for walls as well. Tile has many advantages over other wall surface materials such as paint, wallpaper, wood, and brick to name a few.

Porcelain tiles are hygienic, extremely durable, easy to clean and maintain, fireproof, and resistant to fading, moisture, and odors. The material is environmentally friendly because it emits no VOCs, doesn’t require the use of caustic cleaners, and doesn’t require the destruction of other natural resources like wood or plant material.

And as for the cost compared to these other materials? When you consider the life cycle, long-term performance, durability, and easy maintenance of tile over the other materials often used for walls, tile is actually very cost-effective in the long haul. So what’s not love about tile for walls? Tile design has come a very long way from the bland commercial looks of the old days.  When you factor in the extraordinary array of colors, patterns, and designs available that rival the detail of many traditional wall covering materials, there is absolutely nothing not to love about tile for walls.

Here’s a look at some of our tile styles for achieving fashion-forward looks with the performance characteristics your commercial design projects demand.

Bold Stone Styles

Make a statement on a wall or any vertical surface with dramatic stone looks, like these selections from our Mural, Rex, and Matera collections.

GIO Mural, Aqua Onyx 24x48 Polished & Rectified
Mural in Aqua Onyx
Rex in Black Polished Bookmatch
GIO Matera, Anthracite 24x48 Rectified
Matera iin Anthracite

Subway Tiles with a Twist

Subway tile is classic, but as with many classics, it’s often a new twist given to the “expected” that makes the designs endure. Here’s a look at some of our fun and exciting takes on subway tile: Pastel, Lustro, Naxos, Subway, and Brick_Mood. Discover more subway tile styles here.

Pastel in Aqua
Lustro in Light Grey
GIO Naxos, Grey 3x16 Wall Tile bathroom room scene
Naxos in Grey
Subway by GIO Wall Tile in 4x16 Architectural Grey Bright
Subway in Architectural Grey Bright
GIO-brick_mood,-Black-2x10-Glossy-and-Matte-Field-Tile room scene
Brick_Moode in Black Glossy and Matte



Thanks to the Art Deco revival going on, the three-dimensional geometric surface trend has resurfaced. You’ll find both actual and trompe l’oeil  3D tiles riding the wave of popularity. Our Arté and Rombo collections answer this trend to create big wow factors in both retro and modern design schemes.

Arte in Dove
Arté in Dove
GIO Rombo in Sky
Rombo in Sky


 Artsy Wood Looks

Wood-look tiles are now a mainstay for floors, but they are a great alternative surface for walls, too. Wood tiles have become so realistic since they first arrived on the scene that even touching them often does not reveal their porcelain secret. We’ll always love a traditional wood look tile, but we’re also taken by artful, edgy renditions that offer the back-to-nature warmth we crave with something new and unexpected. Some of our favorite wood looks for walls are Tigerwood, Paintwood, and Char. See all of our wood-look tile collections here.

Tigerwood floor and wall tile
Tigerwood in Saddle
Paintwood in Vintage
Paintwood in Vintage
Char floor and wall tile by GIO
CHAR by GIO in Auburn


We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at some of our commercial-grade tile products for walls! Click here to see all our collections suitable for vertical surfaces. Samples for these lines, in addition to all our tile collections, are available free to the trade. Contact us anytime – we’re here to work with you!