Water Feat | Always Ahead of the Curve
The art and architecture worlds were shocked by the death of Pritzker Prize winner Dame Zaha Hadid last Easter. Age 65 is young to die and even more so for an architect. That’s the age when many of the greats’ careers are really taking off. The Zaha Hadid Design Studio in Clerkenwell, that well of London overflowing with creative, showcases her designs from paintings to shoes to sculptures to maquettes. And, as it transpires, bathrooms. Porcelanosa, the super high end bathroom company handily next door, has taken over the basement display space.
It’s a chance to see her last work before the final curtain fell on Zaha’s glorious career as the world’s best female architect. A career which, ironically, only got going full steam in the UK following the brouhaha over the disastrous design competition for Cardiff Bay Opera House. Cardiff’s loss; rest of the UK’s gain. London’s slick Olympics Aquatic Centre and Serpentine Sackler Gallery would follow. As would a flow of high profile international projects. What a curriculum vitae! Masterpiece Fair 2016 posthumously commemorated her non architecture talents. Porcelanosa is celebrating the future of the polymath’s legacy: bathroom architecture. Arbor vitae must keep growing. Zaha’s professional confidant Patrik Schumacher has stepped up to run the architecture practice.
Vitae is a collection of handcrafted ceramic pieces created by Zaha Hadid Design for Porcelanosa’s specialist bathroom company Noken. Maha Kutay, Director of Zaha Hadid Design, at the design launch: “Being an architectural practice and working on hospitality and residential projects, it was only natural for us to look at developing a bathroom range to complete our interiors. The design has been informed by a fluid language connecting each piece visually to create a wholesome experience.”
The Lebanon born architect joined the practice straight from university. Initially involved in architectural projects, her career veered into design. “I’ve worked on the Roca showroom in London, various exhibition and fair stands such as Design Miami and Design Miami Basel, and products such as the Citco marble collection.” Zaha had a fearsome reputation but Maha says working for her was rewarding. “She kept you on your toes. She knew exactly your potential and pushed you to achieve this.”
High tech advancements haven’t watered down the cutting non edged design of Vitae. Quite the reverse. Zaha’s practice has always been at the forefront of the interface between architecture, landscape, geology and importantly, technology. Computer systems enabled her early designs to be executed. Technology had to catch up with Zaha, not the other way round. “Zaha Hadid’s vision redefined architecture for the 21st century, capturing imaginations across the globe. Her legacy endures within the DNA of the design studio she created.” Magistra vitae.