Private mosque, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Diyar
In 2015, the Aït Manos House was sollicited to participate in the creation of a private mosque in the purest Arab-Muslim tradition in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In this historic city, at the gateway to Mecca, time, religion and spirituality come together. Planted on the eastern shore of the Red Sea, Jeddah, the largest ancient commercial port from the 7th century onwards welcomes pilgrims arriving by water. Multicultural, with a particular style and its original architecture, between coral constructions of the Red Sea coast and ideas influenced by migration and travel, Jeddah embodies a reflection of time. Towers, low-rise houses in coral stone, mosques, and souks enliven the city. The official port of Mecca throughout history, Jeddah welcomes a cosmopolitan population from all over the world. For centuries, it was a unique site where trade, cultural mixing, and atypical architecture flourished. Carved wood and innovations to adapt to the climate, tower-roshan houses that can be found nowhere else, are some peculiarities of Jeddah. Mosques are omnipresent in Jeddah, because of its proximity to Mecca, place of Hajj, a unique event in the Muslim world. Old and newer mosques come one after the other and play a crucial role for the community. For this private construction, Aït Manos created the baked clay mosaic covering, zellige, in the prayer room, the ablutions rooms and the hammam. The zellige patterns that have been chosen for this private project are in keeping with the purest Fassi tradition of age-old zellige. These pieces of glazed baked clay are cut one by one and assembled to form a geometric set. At the heart of Moorish architecture, zellige is an essential component of Moroccan decorative arts. White, brown, it will become blue, green and yellow over the years, and its cradle is in the imperial city of Fes. Used for walls, it is also found on floors, where bejmat, a rectangular paving stone laid out in a chevron style, is used. The age-old manufacturing processes are respected by Aït Manos, which, by incorporating modern techniques to facilitate their laying, perpetuates the tradition. Molding, grading, drying, cooking, cutting, hammering, are all age-old steps that the maâllems of the Aït Manos Workshops repeat over and over again. For this private mosque in Jeddah, for six months, the six maâllems of the Aït Manos Workshops created traditional zellige patterns, a masterful geometry where green, yellow, blue, and friezes adorn the interior walls of the place of worship as well as its majestic minaret.