Since the publication of Edward Said's groundbreaking work Orientalism 35 years ago, numerous studies have explored the West's fraught and enduring fascination with the so-called Orient. Focusing their critical attention on the literary and pictorial arts, these studies have, to date, largely neglected the world of interior design. Oriental Interiors is the first book to fully explore the formation and perception of eastern-inspired interiors from an orientalist perspective. Orientalist spaces in the West have taken numerous forms since the 18th century to the present day, and the fifteen chapters in this collection reflect that diversity, dealing with subjects as varied and engaging as harems, Turkish baths on RMS Titanic, Parisian bachelor quarters, potted palms, and contemporary yoga studios. It explores how furnishings, surface treatments, ornament and music, for example, are deployed to enhance the exoticism and pleasures of oriental spaces, looking across a range of international locations. Organized into three parts, each introduced by the editor, the essays are grouped by theme to highlight critical paths into the intersections between orientalist studies, spatial theory, design studies, visual culture and gender studies, making this essential reading for students and researchers alike.
John Potvin is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at Concordia University, Canada, where he teaches on the intersections of art, interior design and fashion.