“I have always been interested in the concept of fragmentation and the idea of abstraction and explosion, de-constructing the ideas of repetitiveness and mass production.” – (Zaha Hadid, 2007)
Zaha Hadid is one of the most influential architects of our times as she changed the contemporary architectural scene: a world-renowned “archistar” and the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize in 2004. Her career as an architect also led her into the world of interior design and the development of design products.
Born in Baghdad in 1950, she studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before moving to England in 1972 to attend courses at the Architectural Association. Here she met El Lissistsky, Kazimir Malevich, Elia Zenghelis, Rem Koolhaas, Bernard Tschumi, and Leon Krier, who were her mentors. After graduating in 1976, she stayed at the Architectural Association as a teacher until 1987. In London, she made her debut on the international scene, obtaining a big success with the exhibition of numerous paintings from the seventies, that depicted constructivist-inspired spaces: visionary shapes that, in retrospect, can be read as a testimony of the central role that drawing had always played in Hadid’s creative process. She then founded her first professional studio, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), in London, in 1979.
Since the early nineties, Zaha Hadid’s visual language lived a high acceleration towards the dominant theme of all her productions (both in terms of her architectural and interior design creations), which is movement. This movement is intended as the representation of flows that cross space and that translate into forms. An aspect of a significant visual impact that moves away from her very first works. The first projects were the Weil Am Rhein fire station in Germany (1993) and the Hoenheim-Nord terminus in Strasbourg (1999-2001). Among her most important architectural works are the MAXXI in Rome, the Rosenthal Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati (where the road goes into the building), the Salerno maritime station, the Aquatics Center, built in London for 2012 Olympics, the Guangzhou Opera House in China (2010) and the recent Naples-Afragola high-speed train station, inaugurated in 2017 (one year after the architect’s passing).
Zaha Hadid and Marble
Zaha Hadid also expressed her concept of architecture and interior design through marble, always giving to the stone a new life, but above all, new movement.
An example of an interior renovation done with marble is the lobby of the Southbank Tower in London: the Architecture practice built a new mezzanine, an elevator, the concierge, and a lighting system for the 200sqm lobby.
“The design has evolved from our work reinventing the spaces of art museums and galleries around the world, creating immersive spatial experiences for the Southbank Tower’s lobby that enhance the materiality and volumes of the original structure.” By “marrying” polished marble and concrete with walnut and leather, the lobby design incorporates a palette of colors and materials.
Another example of great use of marble is in Dubai, in the Burj Khalifa district. Covering an area of 84,345 sqm, the structure is divided into two distinct towers, joined together by an equally large atrium on the ground floor and by a corridor/bridge on a raised floor.
The building consists of twenty floors above and seven floors below, which were completed seven years after the construction had begun. Its peculiarity is precisely a large central asymmetrical slit, which allows you to enjoy the view and the city from the center of the structure, in neat contrast with the squared and geometric shape of the cube. The external structure is entirely made of glass and steel, while the interiors are in marble.
The marble here has a futuristic appearance, with great sculptural sensitivity.
As per the use of marble in interior design, in 2015, Hadid created a series of marble vases and tables for the Italian company Citco.
Each vase is patterned with carved furrows and ridges running up the sides of the rounded forms, finishing in a ring of rounded peaks. The vases are available in four different types of marble. We also find the “Luna” tables, entirely made with Carrara marble.
One last, very famous piece in the collection is the fireplace: with its curvilinear shape, it expresses the tension between exterior and interior. It is made of black Marquina marble: the highly polished finish reflects the flames, enhancing the fluid design, while the light dances along the entire surface.