small table with rug
Wooden table by VCUQatar Professor Johan Granberg and wool textile center rug by VCUQatar Professor Della Reams

Katara Art Center hosts ‘Dressing Up, Going Out, Eating In,’ an exhibition by Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar) faculty in collaboration with other designers. The exhibition runs from 28 January until 8 March 2014 at the Katara Concept Space, with a public opening on 28 January 2014 at 6 pm.

The exhibition is a collaboration among designers Della Reams, assistant professor in the Fashion Design department at VCUQatar, Johan Granberg, assistant professor in the Interior Design department at VCUQatar, Jeanine Hill Rasmussen, and VCUQatar alumna Rana Rwaished. It is a scenographic setting of the dining ritual featuring fashion, furniture, textiles, tableware, lighting and Arabic calligraphy – all of which are being produced collaboratively using a relay method among the creators.

The setting comprises three areas: a dining area, a sitting area, and a majlis area. The exhibition includes new clothing for two couples – hand-manipulated machine-knitted mohair dresses by Reams, and men’s travel jackets (with pants) by Granberg. The travel jackets have detachable hoods, which are covered by Reams’ knitted wool fabric, featuring Arabic writing that says “Jacket”.  The jackets are casual when the hoodies are worn with them, and more formal when the hoodies are detached.  There will be models wearing this clothing at the opening.

The dining area will feature wooden table and leather-covered chairs by Granberg, ceramic tableware by Hill Rasmussen, digitally-designed laser-cut fiberboard lighting by Rwaished, and a wool knitted carpet by Reams, which has “Carpet” in Arabic knitted into it. The sitting area has wooden table and leather-covered chairs by Granberg, with a wool textile center by Reams (which spells “table” in Arabic), ceramic teapot and cups by Hill Rasmussen, lighting by Rwaished, with another carpet by Reams.

The majlis area has two leather majlis sofas, with two leather chaise longues, a wooden coffee table with Arabic lettering etched in the center, wooden end tables (by Granberg) lighting by Rwaished and a wool knitted carpet and silk covered cushions by Reams. The walls will feature a few more rugs and possibly other items. Granberg will have digitally etched cutting boards among the items for sale (which include almost everything in the exhibit.)

All four designers have exhibited internationally prior to this exhibition, ‘but this is a special exhibition where we have been working to create an environment together.  We use a relay method, where one person designs a part of an item, then passes it on to the next person to finish it’ says Reams. Rwaished adds, ‘I’m excited and nervous at the same time, I was called in to replace another member, my time frame wasn’t as long as the others so that was an interesting challenge to accept and make something for the show.’