Pattern can be created by the shape of field tile.
In Morocco, where tile is an art form, pattern is not restricted to surface decoration or even to the size of their glazed earthenware tiles known as zellige (also zillij). Often it is a function of the actual shape of the tile or by a combination of shapes and colors. We recently discussed the lantern or arabesque shape in our recent Kitchen Backsplash Tile Intelligence post as these are especially trendy. We also noted that arched scallop or fish scale tiles had begun to appear in our Scallop Tile Bathrooms post. Now, two more Moroccan shapes – stars and triangles – are shown in two stunning baths by Dallas designer Cathy Kincaid. Eight-point Moroccan stars are an ancient tile pattern. Kincaid used those in a large-scale sea foam green color [top] to create a distinctive wainscot, which helps unify two windows and the entire area around the tub. One additional effect of using shaped tiles is the creation of positive and negative patterns. The stars read as positive while the negative white tiles around them read as a secondary pattern of crosses.
In a second bath, chocolate brown and white triangular tiles are worked into boxes with opposing colors. But by alternating the placement of the whites against the brown sides, there’s an optical buzz rather than rows of solid squares. The effect is accentuated by tiling from floor to ceiling as well.