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Meet Faissel Farhi of Zellij Gallery in West Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Faissel Farhi.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Faissel. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
In 1912, my Grandfather established the business in Fez Morocco and my father followed. I grew up around Zellij making, I used to go to my father’s factory and play with different Zellij pieces, it was a fun game back then. After college in Florida, I took a long road trip traveling through Morocco, Portugal and Spain. For the first time, I got to see Zellij in some of the most beautiful, elegant and historic establishments (such as Alhambra), this was a great eye-opening experience which made me appreciate my artistic side even more. Only then, I made it a mission to educate the American public especially interior designers about the beautiful art of Zellij. I convinced the family to expend the business to the US and we immediately started to build a distribution network in the US, 6 years later and exactly in 2012, after years of research on where to locate our main showroom, West Hollywood Design District did win our hearts and souls, there is truly no place like the city of angels. We are now a worldwide leading Moroccan tile company that specializes in bringing a 13th century art work to our client’s homes and businesses. Our model is to have the end user select what colors and designs they want rather than just buying mass produced tile. The integrity and skills we have did earn us the partnership with some of the best architects and designers worldwide.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has never been easy and still is not. Our challenges have changed over time, below are a few:

A) A year or so after we decided to start operating in the US, the economic recession hit and no one was building or wanted to know about Zellij but that still didn’t stop us.

B) Zellij is a handmade natural product and new to the US market therefore it has always been a challenge to explain the natural color variation and imperfections.

C) Due to the recent increase of interest in Moroccan architecture, there are some opportunists who are making cheap knock offs in China and or really bad quality Moroccan Zellij. They are advertising it as the real Moroccan tile. Now, we are finding ourselves in a position where we are constantly defending the industry from this invasion which will only give it a bad name.

Please tell us about Zellij Gallery.
I specialize in design and sales. We have clients that come to us with some very complex projects that require special attention and that’s where I come in. I make recommendations, suggest different designs, even make Zellij renderings sometime.

I am proud of this company for being the leader and the innovator in this industry. We just recently launched a new website and for the first time in Zellij history Trade professionals are being able to create an account and color their own mosaics (Zellijgallery.com/signup).

Also, we are always looking for innovative projects, we want clients to use traditional mosaic pieces in their super modern architecture. Zellij is not only for Spanish, Moroccan or Moorish style architecture, it also works very well in modern architecture.

Contact Info:

Chicago Art Kitchen

MoroccanMosaicTileShower


Image Credit:
Zellij Gallery

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