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Zaha Hadid Architects + Modern Art Museum Shanghai

The World From An Aeroplane Known

The only club you’ll find these days on Upper Street is the sandwich variety but what Islington lacks in nightlife it more than makes up for with the daytime artisanal individuality that’s packed into Camden Passage. This pedestrianised paradise may be parallel with Upper Street but that’s where the connection ends: the only chain you’ll find on Camden Passage is a handmade piece of jewellery. The Segal family run restaurant Frederick’s has graced Camden Passage for more than half a century. Its spacious light filled contemporary interior, lending regularity of form to fitness of function, comes as a revelation after the decorative three bay Victorian street front.

We’re here for lunch and a launch in the private dining room which opens onto an anticipatory strip of lawn. “This is our first event out for a year!” welcomes Patrik Schumacher, Principal, Zaha Hadid Architects. “We’ve gathered some friends to celebrate with us the remote opening of ‘ZHA Close Up – Work and Research’, Zaha Hadid Architects’ first exhibition in mainland China. We got our first professional breaks in China – we’ve so many projects there now.” During a Le Chêne Marchand Sancerre reception we’re treated to a live screening of the sell out exhibition at the Modern Art Museum Shanghai.

“The Chinese are just loving Zaha Hadid Architects’ work,” promises Shai Baitel, Artistic Director, MAM Shanghai. “This exhibition shows how it is global and timeless. The work is never compromising, always creating a new language. Today’s dessert is inspired by Zaha Hadid: geometric shaped pastries brushed with a very bitter Iraqi oil!” He proclaims, “Multisensory is all good!” as we receive a spray of Zaha’s fragrance.

Zaha continually pushed forward; she was always evolving,” Shai summarises. “Geography versus movement translates into this scent. It contains Indian and Saudi oud; the mixologist is French; and it is made in Italy. Zaha was enigmatic: she was very feminine but never married. This fragrance is genderless.” And what fills the air is an abstract fifth dimension built upon organisation and articulation; organised articulation; articulated organisation.Órla Constant has flown in from Lady Kitty Spencer’s wedding to join our table. “Kitty wore three wedding dresses on the day: all Dolce + Gabbana. She was like a sublime Cinderella!” As for Zaha: “I was so privileged to have met her. She’s left such a legacy.” Órla is Relationship Director of Centrepoint. “Prince William chose us as his first charity. He’s very emphatically linked to us and the young people. He’s an amazing ambassador. We’re really out there as a charity!”

Zaha Hadid Architects Director Woody Yao also joins our table. He’s back from the 10th anniversary of the opening of Roca Showroom in Imperial Wharf which he designed with fellow Director Maha Kutay. That opening party seems like a hot minute ago. “I joined Zaha’s practice in 1994,” Woody relates. “She was one of the most genius architects of all time. The way we move around is all about Zaha genius. She stuck to her authentic voice. Zaha inspired generations of architects. She’s in our DNA! Technology changes; so does the way we do drawings but we carry that same spirit. We’re more like a movement than a style.”

“Architecture frames social interaction,” writes Patrik in his 2012 Volume II The Autopoiesis of Architecture. “The design environment matters: it frames all interactions. Only on the basis of the designed environment as complex systems of frames can society be reproduced on the level of complexity it has attained.” One chapter is titled “World Architecture within World Society”. Today is a global adventure: the world from a virtual aeroplane known.  Everywhere outside Frederick’s­­­, floodlights rake the sky.

30 replies on “Zaha Hadid Architects + Modern Art Museum Shanghai”

So sad how young the marvellous Zaha passed but great to see her practice thriving under Patrik.

Darling wonderful to read about 💗 I love Frederick’s. Great to see everyone in the pics too !! LL XX

Delighted to read reference being made to the well known and highly respected charity ‘Centrepoint’. Now , as never before , is their support of young , homeless people necessary.

Baghdad born Zaha was the first woman to win the Pritzer, challenging the notion of what buildings can do and look like. It’s incredible now that her designs were once considered “unbuildable” (too conceptual, more like works of art) in some quarters, especially in Britain (hard to forget the Cardiff Bay Opera House debacle – a great loss to Wales). Scotland did better benefitting from Zaha’s Maggie’s Centre in Fife. The Centre was her first permanent structure in the UK when it opened in 2006.

From their first project in China in 2003, ZHA went on to shape the urban fabric of major Chinese cities with several high-profile projects, culminating in the 2019’s Beijing Daxing International Airport, the most important in China and one of the largest in the world.

That’s interesting George. Our early Zaha Hadid favourite is Vitra Fire Station. We wrote about it a couple of decades ago for the distinguished publication Fire Services Journal. LVB

Hey Sweetie how’s you gorgeous ❣️??!! Fredericks is my fav Angel hangout. Are you at Mary’s shoot this weekend ??? Love and all. A.C. 💓

Hello Lady C! All good in the House of Lavender’s Blue! Elite midweek party underway as always! Frederick’s was lovely, our first visit. Calling Mary later, See you very soon. LVB XX

Definitely the most underrated blog on the internet. Well done. I met Zaha at the Wolseley years ago. She didn’t disappoint! Great presence and erudition.

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