Oriental Interiors: Design, Identity, Space

Oriental Interiors: Design, Identity, Space

by John Potvin

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. He is the author of Bachelors of a Different Sort: Queer Aesthetics, Material Culture and the Modern Interior in Britain (Manchester University Press, 2014), Giorgio Armani: Empire of the Senses (Ashgate, 2013) and Material and Visual Cultures Beyond Male Bonding (Ashgate, 2008). He is also editor of The Places and Spaces of Fashion (Routledge, 2009) and co-editor of Material Cultures, 1740-1920: The Meanings and Pleasures of Collecting (Ashgate, 2010) and Fashion, Interior Design and the Contours of Modern Identity (Ashgate, 2010). Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

Search for publications
Bloomsbury Academic, 2015
  • DOI:
  • ISBN:
    978-1-4742-6378-8 (online)

    978-1-4725-9664-2 (hardback)

    978-1-4725-9663-5 (paperback)

    978-1-4725-9662-8 (epdf)

    978-1-4725-9665-9 (epub)
  • Edition:
    First published
  • Place of Publication:
  • Published Online:
Oriental Interiors: Design, Identity, Space
Collapse All Sections

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 thirteen 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.