Zaha Hadid (portrait)
“I believe that the function of great architectural projects is precisely to create movement, ferment. The fluid lines (she herself once declared) are nothing more than the adaptation of form to a new concept of space that is more dynamic, flexible and alternative. A multiple and fragmented geometric perspective that reveals the questionability of numbers and formulas” Zaha Hadid
Zaha Hadid is the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. The first Pritzker Prize winner was Philip Johnson in 1979.
Zaha Hadid “the Queen of Curves” was born in Baghdad. She began her university studies at the American University in Beirut in the field of mathematics. In 1972 she moved to London to study architecture at the Architectural Association and after graduating in 1977 joined the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). He teaches at the Architectural Association with OMA collaborators Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis. Important figures in his life are his father Mohammed Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Kazimir Malevich and Oscar Niemeyer.
In 1980 she opened a studio in London and in 1983 won the prestigious competition for the Hong Kong Peak Club, a leisure and entertainment centre. Painting and drawing, especially in his early period, are important investigative techniques for his design work. His architecture has been shown in exhibitions around the world and many of his works are part of important museum collections. She works on architecture and design, from the urban scale to interiors and furniture, in close collaboration with Patrik Schumacher. Known for her works such as the Kurfurstendamm in Berlin (1986), the Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein, Germany (1993).
(1990 – 1993 – Germany – Will am Rhein – Vitra Fire Station – Zaha Hadid – Photo courtesy: Pinterest)
Cardiff Baby Opera House in Wales (1994), the Mind Zone at the Millennium Dome Greenwich in the UK (1999), Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (2007-2010), Guangzhou Opera House in China (2010), the London Aquatics Centre (2011), the Dongdaemun design Plaza in South Korea (2014), CityLife Milan, the Innsbruck funicular railway stations, the Heydar Alyey Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan, selected Design of the Year in 2014, the MAXXI in Rome (2005-2018).
Parallel to her profession, she continues to be involved in the academic world, holding professorships and often guest lecturing at Harvard University, Yale University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia University, the University of Visual Arts in Hamburg and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. In 2010 and 2011, her designs were awarded the Stirling Prize by the Royal Institute of British Architects, one of the highest honours in the architecture industry. Recently Zaha Hadid was named “Artist for Peace” by UNESCO and received the title “Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Republic. TIME magazine named her one of the “100 most influential people in the world” and in 2012 Queen Elizabeth II named her a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
With these words Zaha Hadid describes contemporary lighting designed for Artemide by Ernesto Gismondi. “As in the organic development of trees, this sculptural lamp emerges from an interconnected extensive support network at the base. Like a growing organism, branches sprout from the central support system, which, through a radial geometry, increase the dynamic and tensional force of the structure. Nature nourishes the design as the arms of the lamp grow, increasing the contrast between positive and negative, concave and convex, tension and compression”.
(Floor lamp “Genesy” for Artemide – Zaha Hadid – Photo courtesy: Pinterest)
(Pendant lamp “Avia” for Slamp – Zaha Hadid – Photo courtesy: Pinterest)
(Pendant lamp “Aria Gold” for Slamp – Zaha Hadid – Photo courtesy: Pinterest)
(Suspension lamp “Duna” for Lasvit – Zaha Hadid – Photo courtesy: Pinterest)
Zaha Hadid describes the Vortexx, pendant lighting, as follows: “The charismatic contour is reminiscent of a double helix and appears as a perpetually flowing, weightless, impulsive and radiant form”.
(2005 – “Vortexx” pendant lamp for Zumtobel – Zaha Hadid – Photo courtesy: Pinterest)
As is always the case in the design of exhibition spaces for MAXXI, the national museum of XXI century arts in Rome, great attention is paid to light, or rather to achieving the optimum balance between the lighting design contribution of daylight and the necessary contribution of electric light, thanks to which the volumes can be enhanced but at the same time the works on display can be properly illuminated. Linear louvres follow the conceptual grid and filter the sunlight, providing soft light for the structural curves. Electric lighting is concealed wherever possible. Diffuse light passes through the building and creates a quiet counterpoint to the dynamic lines and contrasting black and white material.
(1998 – 2009 – Italy – Rome – MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts – Zaha Hadid – Photo courtesy: Pinterest)
Zaha Hadid‘s projects express her innovative way of handling tangible materials and her imagination when it comes to light. The three-decade transition from the minimal lines of light in her first Vitra Fire Station to the world’s tallest atrium at the Leeza SOHO skyscraper, with its abundance of daylight, shows the remarkable development of Zaha Hadid’s lighting legacy. Light bridges the gap between architecture and our perception. We feel forms and materials with our eyes not directly but through light. The search for homogeneity at the Heydar Aliyev Center (Baku, 2012) led to a softer gradation of light and shadow through an architectural lighting design.
(2007 – 2012 – Azerbaijan – Baku – Heydar Aliyev Centre – Zaha Hadid – Photo courtesy: Pinterest)
During the day, the volume reflects light and dominates the overall shadow of the sun, the flat glass facades reflecting the surroundings. At night, the interior lighting design streams over the exterior surfaces and the exterior floodlights reveal the geometry of the building. In contrast to the starry sky arrangement of the Guangzhou Opera House, the lighting in Baku is subtly integrated into the wooden ceiling and walls, almost out of sight of the public.
(2003 – 2010 – China – Guangzhou – Opera House – Zaha Hadid – Photo courtesy: Pinterest)
In 2018, two years after her death, the Generali Tower in Milan is inaugurated, towering in the City Life area and redesigning the Milanese skyline, which will be completed by the fourth tower designed by the BIG studio, Bjarke Ingels Group. Zaha Hadid also designed the City Life Shopping District and the Hadid residences for City Life.
(1) Christina Leaf, Zaha Hadid Architect, 2019, Bellwether Media.