Cities Boutique at Design Days Dubai

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Cities Boutique, art, design and lifestyle store, is participating for the second time in Design Days Dubai which will take place from March 14-18.

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Hawini, “L’Ouvert et L’Horizon,” installation art

The Cities’ exhibit at Design Days Dubai will focus on the theme of “Orientalism Reinterpreted.” The term “Orientalism” is often used to refer to depictions and imitations of aspects of Middle Eastern, South Asian, African and East Asian cultures.  Historically, this negative interpretation has appeared in countless designs and artworks which tend to generalise and exaggerate, resulting in an erroneous understanding of our culture and people.  As time has passed, the word “orientalism” has faded from active usage as uncertainty surrounds its meaning.

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Alma de Luce, Enxoval, cabinet, Corian, Palissandro wood, Swarovski crystals, gold leaf, 100×50.5x171cm, 2014, photo courtesy of Alma de Luce

The Cities’ exhibit theme was conceived to reclaim ownership of this term and cast it in a more positive light.  The display at Design Days Dubai shares designs which play upon these clichéd items and creations which were once considered accurate characterisations of Eastern cultures when defined by outsiders.  Instead, Cities’ reinterprets these depictions; presenting designs which allude to these previous creations and their recognizable tropes, and subvert them, offering a different perspective on what “orientalism” is and how it should be defined.

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Working within the culture, the regional designers representing Cities offer their own depictions of the characteristics, styles, shapes and forms that historically have fallen under the term Orientalism.  Each designer participating in the exhibit has chosen a recognisable design, structure, or motif that has been traditionally associated with Eastern cultures and has offered a reinterpretation of the creation which shares not only the cultural aspects and traditions inherent to the object, but also challenges these conventional perspectives by pushing the boundaries and offering conceptualized art and design.  The result is a collection of design that is at times satirical and bold, and in other instances quietly shares a forgotten story.

Now in its fifth year, Design Days Dubai is an annual event which presents limited edition furniture and design objects gathered from some of the leading international designers and galleries from all across the world.  It also provides a source of knowledge and education about the design sector through a series of workshops, installations, and live performances.

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As such, the Cities’ display draws on the known and recognisable roots, and portrays the assimilation of outside influences to result in creations that are cohesive, narrative, and forward-thinking as they break with the erroneous characterisations of the past and accurately share a modern definition of Orientalism.

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Work in progress, new designs by Lebanese designer Khaled El Mays

Highlights of the Cities’ display include new designs by Lebanese designer Khaled El Mays which were created specifically for Cities and this theme, as well as the art installation “L’Ouvert et L’Horizon,” from Lebanese group Hawini, and the Enxoval cabinet from Portuguese creators Alma de Luce.  Cities is pleased to be participating again in this prestigious event and share with Dubai this exceptional exhibition created to explore the ideas of “Orientalism Reinterpreted.”

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Apart from exhibiting at Design Days Dubai, Cities Art, Design and Lifestyle Store has just opened a second Dubai location at the Dubai Mall. The new Cities store is located on the lower ground (LG) level of the mall, near the waterfall.

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