Chinoiserie Room

Built in 1889, the Gladstone Hotel has been described as an example of ‘unabashed architectural exuberance’ utilizing details from the Greek, Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance eras. The Chinoiserie Room exists within the spirit of freewheeling decorative appropriation, presenting an opportunity for unabashed chinoiserie. Chinoiserie is a term that refers historically to a style of decorative art that is based on imitations (in particular, European interpretations) of Asian motifs – what might be known as ‘Oriental folly’. Ironic use of chinoiserie is achieved through the use of a particular blend of cross-cultural influences that acknowledges and simultaneously pokes fun at the postmodern condition by replacing the ‘true’ elements of chinoiserie with contemporary local references (in this case, of Toronto). The effect is a room that is swimming in nostalgia and lavish exoticism edged with a sharp self-reflexive bite.

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