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Shangri La

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Built in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1937, Shangri La is framed by the beautiful Pacific Ocean and the distinctive profile of Diamond Head, and also houses Doris Duke's intriguing collection of Islamic art. Today, Shangri La serves as a center for Islamic arts and cultures. It is owned and supported by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (DDFIA), which Doris Duke created in her will to promote the study, understanding, and preservation of Islamic art and culture. Education programs such as residencies, lectures, performances, panel discussions, among other special events with a focus on Muslim arts and culture are offered.

The roots of Shangri La lie in Doris Duke decision to build a seasonal home in Honolulu after her honeymoon in 1935. On her honeymoon, she visited Muslim countries for the first time and her journey also included an extended stay in Hawaii. Finding herself captivated by Islamic cultures and enamored with Hawaii, Doris Duke designed her new home in collaboration with architect Marion Sims Wyeth to evoke the beauty and character of each. Shangri La borrows architectural elements and artistic sensibilities from regions of the Islamic world, and blends them with a distinctly Hawaiian landscape that features sweeping ocean views, exotic gardens and a 75-foot saltwater pool.

From its inception, Doris Duke's estate in Honolulu, Shangri La, was envisioned by its founder as a home of Islamic art and architecture. As early as 1936, Shangri La was shaped by a symbiotic relationship between the built environment and the collection. Architectural design was influenced by the objects collected, and the objects to be collected were assessed for their potential place within the built environment. From her first foray into collecting while traveling in the Islamic world until her death in 1993, Duke's pattern of collecting for design remained remarkably consistent, yet it also matured.

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