In addition to designing some of the world’s most striking buildings and becoming the first female recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004, Zaha Hadid has long been cozy with the fashion industry, inspiring collections by designers as varied as Sergio Rossi, Shelly Steffee and London up-and-comer Tze Goh.
On top of designing furniture, cars, decorative arts and tabletop, the Iraqi-born, British-based Hadid herself has collaborated on collections with Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Swarovski and Brazilian footwear company Melissa—and she designed an otherworldly mobile exhibition pavilion for Chanel that is currently traveling the globe.
So during a recent trip to Philadelphia, I was chuffed to stumble upon Zaha Hadid: Form in Motion at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The exhibit focuses on the connection between all of Hadid’s work, be it the moon-like silver Crater Table, the three-wheeled Z-Car prototype, Swarovski crystal-encrusted necklaces and bracelets or her Melissa shoes, colorful plastic creations that snake around one’s calf like Jetsons’-era reptiles. All showcase her raison d’être: reinventing the balance between objects and the space they occupy. This is as clear in the Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre and the London Aquatic Centre she’s currently designing for the 2012 Olympics as it is in her Alessi Crevasse flower vase and the neon VorteXX chandelier she designed with Patrik Schumacher.
The feeling of being immersed in the world of this extraordinary creative genius is heightened by the fluid ZH-designed walls that seem to undulate through the museum’s first floor space, punctuated by biomorphic bookcases and culminating in a series of cocoon-like rooms where visitors can watch videos exploring her work or leisurely page through the many books (casually displayed on shelves near comfy settees meant for lounging and reading) devoted to all things Zaha Hadid.
Zaha Hadid: Form in Motion will be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through March 25, 2012.
Lauren David Peden writes for Rue La La as a Contributing Editor.