Casa Pratesi

An Artistic Collaboration with Reverse Orientalism



Pratesi announces its new AI generated Spring campaign, Casa Pratesi.  In a daring move that intertwines the old and the new, Pratesi has embarked on an artistic collaboration with AI visionary Hajar Ali of Reverse Orientalism. By marrying the precision of artificial intelligence with the soulful touch of artisan craftsmanship, Pratesi redefines luxury living with an AI-generated Italian villa, featuring the brand’s iconic collections of linens.


 Envisioning linens that transcend the realm of utility and become an integral part of living art, Casa Pratesi encapsulates the essence of Italian aesthetics, translating the rich history and culture into an architectural marvel that exists in both the tangible and virtual worlds.

Hajar Ali programmed the exquisite Italian villa with an understanding of Pratesi's design language and rich heritage. She has generated these villas to complement and enhance the luxurious nature of Pratesi linens. The Pratesi linens become part of a living canvas.



We spoke with Hajar about her work and this ground-breaking project.

You have a master’s degree in strategic studies from the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, how did this shape your career and your decision to venture into real estate and later launch both Urban Nomads and Travel Like a Humanitarian? 

My time at IDSS, especially my work with critical theory and political Islam, has deeply influenced my worldview and career trajectory. The name 'Reverse Orientalism' itself comes from Edward Said's work in another field. Urbane Nomads and even the real estate agency Urbane Spaces that preceded it, navigated the fields of travel and real estate with a sensitivity that I attribute to my understanding of post-colonial work and its impact on contemporary social structures. With Urbane Nomads, this has contributed to the development of a high-value, low-impact model of tourism, which aims to benefit the local community through creating real change at the systemic level (knowledge transfer to locals in the form of hiring and training for key positions and partnering with lodges with similar policies and aims). 



Tell us what inspired you to be the first woman to cross the Arabian Peninsula’s “Empty Quarter” and how did this great feat influence you both personally and professionally. 

I was researching the area for clients and realized that whilst Rosita Forbes aimed to be the first woman to cross the Empty Quarter, her attempt failed as Abdullah Philby, her intended expedition partner and father of double agent Kim Philby, went ahead without her. I loved the storied legacy of the area and wanted to be inextricably linked to it. 


How did your travels throughout the world shape your interest and your views on art, design and architecture?

Having had the privilege of seeing some of the most beautiful lodges and resorts in the world as well as some of the most inspiring natural settings have definitely impacted on my vision and preferred aesthetic in my design work. Many of my sets on Instagram were inspired by actual hotels and places I've visited.


When did you first start using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how? What was your inspiration and what did you want to accomplish with this new technology?

I started working with AI when it went mainstream, in October 2022. Like almost everyone else using it, I was experimenting with the new technology and seeking to express ideas and artistic concepts with it. Interestingly my first work to go truly viral (>500k likes), was a confluence of my experience in real estate and travel. 



Your highly successful @Reverse.Orientalism Instagram account has transported us to an inspiring world where art, design, and architecture blend in perfect harmony, what ratio would you say is your own vision vs AI’s?

I would say that the general idea and concept is mine, but AI sometimes gives a peek into possible outcomes that I then pursue. It's a constant negotiation and coaxing with the AI to tweak out the best results. 




What was your thought process when working with Pratesi and what would you say were the considerations when working with a brand with a 118-year legacy of crafting the world’s most artful and luxurious linens?

I was very excited when first approached by Pratesi, and incidentally the first commercial brand I've said yes to. The synergies were obvious given how I was already using the products in real life projects. Given Pratesi's history, I was careful to create a villa setting suitable to the heritage of Pratesi. I created an atmosphere that reflected both my signature style of bringing natural elements indoors as well as settings that would serve as the ideal backdrops to showcase Pratesi linens. 



Where do you see the future of AI when it comes to art, design and architecture?

AI has equalised the playing field for everyone and allowed for freedom of artistic expression to everyone. I see this as analogous to the arrival of the printing press and how it enabled the Lutheran revolution, which sought to empower the laity with the keys to interpretation of sacred texts, previously the exclusive domain of clergy. 

With AI, there's no more gatekeeping to artistic expression; the only thing that distinguishes work of art is not so much skill but the idea and the effectiveness with which it has been expressed; arguably what art is all about. 


About Hajar Ali

Hajar Ali is Singapore-born and currently working in Dubai. She calls her unique genre of art 'Reverse Orientalism,” co-opting and sometimes subverting, Occidental imagery to create Orientalist art. Originally created as an academic field to address the issues raised by Edward Said, she has translated this philosophy into art.

Prior to becoming an artist, Hajar was involved in luxury adventure travel. She became the first woman to cross the Empty Quarter, the world's largest sand desert, in 2012. Her artistic vision was influenced by her travels, experiencing firsthand some of the most beautiful natural settings, lodges, and resorts in the world. Hajar continues to push the boundaries of art, design, and technology, her work inspires the imagination and evokes architectural marvels, both past and future, ready to be explored.



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