Remembering Dame Zaha Hadid

Remembering Dame Zaha Hadid

as The Art World Mourns Dame Zaha Hadid, V Looks Back On The Life—and Legacy—of One The Greatest And Innovative Minds In Architecture And Design

as The Art World Mourns Dame Zaha Hadid, V Looks Back On The Life—and Legacy—of One The Greatest And Innovative Minds In Architecture And Design

In documentaries, books, and lectures, Zaha Hadid lauded the legacy of those artist and designers who broke down barriers, who believed that humans could live in hovering homes, and who fundamentally altered societal perceptions. When looking back at the 45 years of drawings, paintings, buildings, pavilions, garments, and products she designed before her unexpected passing yesterday in Miami at 65, it is hard to find a facet of life Zaha did not reimagine. The vision she had for the world of objects in which we live always reached for the spirit of the avant-garde and her contributions to it will continue to be an incredible source of inspiration.

Hadid has been fracturing the normalcy of the architectural world since her projects as a student in London. Her 1977 proposals for the London Bridge and a Museum for Twentieth Century Art launched her work into a greater dialogue and proved promising of what was to come. Another early work, submitted in in the form of paintings to a competition held to design the Peak Club in Hong Kong, shows an architectural vision in which the ground morphs into shards of concrete projecting from the side of mountain morphing into a vast leisure complex. Looking at these now, the revolutionary aspiration is still obvious. The massive paintings show a vision that could not be built in the early 1982, but when Zaha Hadid was given the opportunity to build, her projects maintained the intentions found in these visionary projects. Roofs meld into the earth, hallways expand and contract in defiance of perspective, and lines of form swoosh through space with no visible ends.

One also has to remember that when Dame Hadid proposed these visions architecture was the quintessential boys club. Even her staunchest critics will not detract from her legacy when it comes to her revolutionary role in addressing the gender gap in architecture. She was the first female laureate of the Pritzker Prizethe Nobel Prize of architecturein 2004.

Not only did the visionary forge a novel way forward within the professional world of architects, she also had far reaching influence through her collaborations with designers from other fields. She designed a pair of gummy shoes for Brazilian brand Melissa in 2008; Karl Lagerfeld commissioned her to design Chanel’ s Mobile Art Pavilion in 2008 and Chanel’ s SS’ 12 Runway; Rem D. Koolhaas tapped her to collaborate on a gravity defying set of heels for United Nude in 2013.

In response to her death, Karl Lagerfeld told WWD that there is One genius less in the world. There are few people I admired as much as her. I am devastated. Her influence was immense and will last. The ultimate testament of her work is that it reached across design cultures. Her massive cultural buildings will continue to inspire fashion designers and tailors, and her paintings will continue to be studied by architects, proving that she was not only a great lead within architecture but also a nexus for larger group of people working across many types of design.


Mobile Art Chanel Contemporary Art Container. Photography © Virgile Simon Bertrand

The Peak Leisure Club. Painting © Zaha Hadid Architects

NOVA Shoes. Photo courtesy of United Nude

Crevasse Vase for Alessi. Photo © Zaha Hadid Architects


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