Copyright October 31, 2011
Zaha Hadid and I have been friends for many years… long before she became an icon. I met Zaha when she was building the controversial Fire House for Vitra, (the Avant Garde furniture manufacturer located in Weil am Rhine Germany). I, at the time, was working with Alexander VonVeggesack, the director of the Vitra Museum. Vitra was my first breakthrough into the rarefied world of museums when they purchased a number of my designs for their permanent collection.
Zaha Hadid's fire Station at the Vitra factory in Weil am Rhine, Germany - 1994
I had always admired Zaha’s edgy work - her thinking outside of the box - her tenacity in sticking to her guns… She stood out as an uncompromising believer in the unlimited possibilities of architecture… Not the straightjacket version of the 20th Century… but a vision of the fluid movement that is defining the 21st Century.
Zaha’s career has been a tumultuous road to the top. Influential and groundbreaking, many of her designs were initially never built. Her work remained theoretical and mostly unknown except in the esoteric world of academia. Until 2004… when she reached the pinnacle of the architectural world: the first woman ever to receive The Pritzker Prize, architecture’s equivalent of the Noble Prize. Since then she has received many more awards, retrospective exhibits and was ranked 69th on the Forbes list of “The world’s 100 Most Powerful Women” and ranked the world's 100 top thinkers in Time Magazine's 2010 list of the world's most influential people.
Left: rendering for Abu Dhabi Performing Art Ceentre, UAE - Right: Spiralling Tower, Barcelona, Spain
Since Pritzker, she has become awash in major commissions around the World. Zaha runs a tight ship and her architectural firm – Zaha Hadid Architects - is over 300 people strong. She manages her time carefully, but in spite of this enormous success, Zaha finds time for old friends. She is an elegant lady that could well be on the Best Dressed 100 list. Our lunch with Zaha was certainly one of the great pleasures of our London visit and being in town for the opening of her latest achievement, the Roca London Galleries was indeed fortuitous.
The Roca London Gallery - opened last week - Roco is a Spanish manufacturer of bathroom fictures
And finally, our luncheon with Zaha at Wollseys... a fashionable eatery on Picadilly in London
A special hug for old time's sake