Interiors Reconfigured: Changing Materiality and Craftsmanship in the Decorative Arts of the Middle East and North Africa, 18th–20th Centuries

International Conference, Vitrocentre Romont, CH
3–4 November 2023

Francine Giese, Sarah Keller, Vitrocentre Romont
Mercedes Volait, CNRS/InVisu
Keynote Speaker
Anke Scharrahs, independent conservator and scholar, Berlin

The international conference is dedicated to the decorative arts of the Middle East and North Africa with a special focus on material aspects and local practices. In the course of profound changes since the 18th century, local tastes and craftmanship began to mutate under Ottoman and Western influence. The conference will address these changes and emphasise the growing importance of material-based analysis in the field of Middle Eastern and Maghrebi décors.

Colloque dédié aux arts décoratifs au Maghreb et au Moyen-Orient, aux aspects matériels et aux pratiques locales, depuis le XVIIIe et au cours d’un XIXe siècle témoin de démontages massifs, d’introduction sur le marché de l’art, et d’exportation vers l’Europe d’éléments de décors et d’architectures laissant un patrimoine fragmenté. (voir l’appel à communications)


3 November 2023

09.30 Opening Remarks
Francine Giese, Vitrocentre Romont
Mercedes Volait, CNRS/InVisu


Chair: Mercedes Volait, CNRS/InVisu

09.45 Variety of Materials and Techniques in the Interior Decoration of Domestic Spaces in Damascus between the 18th and 20th centuries – Changes in Taste and Materiality

Anke Scharrahs, independent conservator and scholar, Berlin


Chair: Francine Giese, Vitrocentre Romont

11.15 Cairene Interiors as Dynamic Spaces: the Successive Refurbishments of Manzil al-Sadat in the 19th Century

Mercedes Volait, CNRS/InVisu

11.45 Réorientaliser l’architecture « mauresque ». Intérieurs algériens recomposés aux XIXe et XXe siècles

Claudine Piaton, CNRS/InVisu

12.15 Ramsès Wissa Wassef et la rénovation de la kamariya

Leïla el-Wakil, University of Geneva


Chair: Doris Behrens-Abouseif, SOAS University of London

14.15 A Changing Preference for Textile in Ottoman Interiors, 1705–1755

Nazlı Songülen, Middle East Technical University, Ankara

14.45 Furnishing Fabrics: The Qalamkar Textiles in the Domestic Interiors of the Qajar, Iran

Fahimeh Ghorbani, University of Toronto

15.15 The Materiality of Stucco-Glass Windows in 19th-Century Egypt

Francine Giese, Sarah Keller, Sophie Wolf, Vitrocentre Romont

15.45 Technical Heritage of Making Stucco and Glass Lattice Works in Iran

Amir-Hossein Karimy, Afsaneh Sobhani, Art University of Isfahan


Chair: Sarah Keller, Vitrocentre Romont

16.45 František Schmoranz in Budapest: Reconstructing the Interior of the Oriental Pavilion at the 1885 National Exhibition in Budapest

Péter T. Nagy, Qatar Museums, Doha
Ajla Bajramović, University of Vienna

17.15 The Railway Station of Bosanski Brod: a Historical and Visual Reconstruction of a Major Work of Orientalist Design in the Balkans

Maximilian Hartmuth, University of Vienna
Malka Dizdarević, Vienna University of Technology

17.45 3D Restitution of Saint-Maurice Residence in Cairo – 3D as a Tool to Monitor and Study Architectural Reuses

Vincent Baillet, Archeosciences Bordeaux

4 November 2023


Chair: Nadia Radwan, University of Bern
Anke Scharrahs, independent conservator and scholar, Berlin

09.00 The Reception of Glass Stucco Windows as Vernacular Element of «Turkish» Interior Decoration

Franziska Niemand, Vitrocentre Romont/University of Fribourg

9.30 The Bait Al-Naboodah in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. A 19th-Century Pearl Merchant’s House between Tradition and Globalisation

Martin Nixon, Zayed University, Dubai

10.30 Variations sur céramiques bleues. Concevoir l’intérieur oriental

Nadia Radwan, University of Bern

11.00 A Tale of Three Perspectives: Local Authenticity, Colonial Interference and Hybridity within the Construction Methods of at-Tastīr / Moroccan Geometric Arts

Hamza El Fasiki, Craft Draft

11.30 Back to the Future? The 1927 « Arab style » Interior of Hoda Shaarawy’s « House of the Egyptian Woman » as a Display of the Nation

Philipp Zobel, University of Regensburg

13.00 La Maison Tarazi: a Family Run Furnishing Company from Beirut

Camille Tarazi, Maison Tarazi
Presentation of original documents at Vitromusée Romont

Informations pratiques

Vitrocentre Romont
Centre suisse de recherche sur le vitrail et les arts du verre
Rue du Château 108b, CP 225
CH-1680 Romont
+41 (0)26 652 18 34

Sessions des 3 et 4 novembre :
Hôtel de Ville de Romont
Rue du Château 112

Participation free of charge, registration is required by 30 October 2023



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