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Remembering Celebrated Architect, Dame Zaha Hadid, On Her First Death Anniversary

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“There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?” stated Dame Zaha Hadid about her neo-futuristic designs. March 31 marked the first death anniversary of the late Hadid, the celebrated Iraq-born, London-based architect. Hadid was 65 when she unexpectedly passed away in Miami. But her inspiring legacy lives on as a fixture within the annals of modern art and architecture.

The flamboyant revisionist took on splintered-psyche clichés of stasis, hard lines dictated by worn-out virtues of design, and amplified them to a borderline-delirious effect, in the process twisting, turning, and ultimately transforming the way we look at buildings.



Her spatial experiences include the sensual curvatures of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London; Rome’s MAXXI museum; the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Azerbaijan; London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Summer Olympics; and the Guangzhou Opera House in China, among 40-plus buildings dotted across the globe.



Her education in mathematics encouraged constant investigations into the algorithms that liberated the 3-dimensional curve from the constraints of gravity. “I can now believe in buildings that can float,” Hadid told the Guardian of her curvy concrete designs.

The first woman to win the coveted Pritzker prize (regarded as architecture’s Nobel) in 2004, and the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Gold Medal in 2015, her reputation of a wildly successful trailblazing architect invokes nothing less than wide-eyed wonderment.



The Issey Miyake loyalist also lent her special kind of Midas touch to her famous fashion collaborations. Take, for example, the layered Peekaboo Fendi handbag that appeared like pages from a book; Louis Vuitton’s Icone bag, where she played with the concept of bag as a container to create a structural masterpiece; special edition United Nude’s Nova shoes, resembling nano-sized architectural models; and the Colosseum-inspired B.Zero1 iconic ring for BVLGARI, one of her last fashion powerhouse projects.

No icon is without her or his share of backlash. Hadid knew this. She was an outsider, after all, in an industry notoriously synonymous with the starchy boy’s club.

She was born into an affluent, liberal Muslim family in Baghdad, completed her schooling in England, followed by a degree in mathematics in Beirut, before moving, in 1972, to London to train at the Architectural Association under tutelage of renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhas.

In 1979, she established her own practice in London – Zaha Hadid Architects – and gained a reputation for changing the language of architecture.

She was typecast as a “diva” on account of her tempestuous candor, and was often ridiculed for making impractical demands on construction techniques, and quaffing budgets. Unfazed by the sexist label, the precocious feminist was famously quoted: “Would they still call me a diva if I was a man?”

Apart from inspiring a design expression defined by quiet disruption of symmetry, Indian designers Arjun Saluja, Rimzim Dadu, and Payal Khandwala also share a common love for Hadid’s bold modernist approach of overlapping, entwined, almost frozen fantastical designs.


Arjun Saluja

My favourite Zaha Hadid design:

“The Beko building in Belgrade is a stellar example of her genius – she has infused the idea of fluidity into a hardened concrete structure. It’s a revolutionary thought process where she has disrupted a certain landscape while creating one at the same time.

This urban modern building stands in approval against the backdrop of ancient Kalemegdan Castle. These are the spaces that live rather than being static pieces of art or installation.”


Arjun Saluja_Remembering Zaha Hadid_Front Row With Shweta Shiware_Hauterfly

If I were to find a piece from my collection that resonates with Zaha Hadid’s work…

“This creation from my Resurrection collection in 2009 was the start of a process for me; a process in melting architectural shapes, about solidifying the idea of tailoring by juxtaposing it with fluidity, about creating ungendered clothing.”


Rimzim Dadu

My favourite Zaha Hadid design…

“I love the metallic-chromed rubber shoes she designed in collaboration with United Shoes. I love anything that challenges existing notions of form and proportion, and exploits the potential of materials. And these shoes do just that.

I also love the head-spinning dichotomy of structure-meets-fluidity, making it appear like little fragments of metal have come together to build the shoe.”


Rimzim Dadu_Remembering Zaha Hadid_Front Row with Shweta Shiware_Hauterfly


If I were to pick a piece from my collection that resonates with Zaha Hadid’s work…

“It’d definitely be the metallic sari; the design seems structured yet fluid, where hair-thin strands of metal have come together to form the pallu.”


Payal Khandwala

My favourite Zaha Hadid design:

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at the Michigan State University particularly resonates with me for its simplicity and modernity. It is dramatic in its minimal use of geometry and proportion. The clever use of angles plays with light, illuminating the building differently at different times of the day.


Payal Khandwala_Remembering Zaha Hadid_Front Row With Shweta Shiware_Hauterfly


If I were to pick a piece from my collection that resonates with Zaha Hadid’s work…

“Her work allowed certain movement and weightlessness within structures that are typically grounded, akin to folds and pleats of this fluid silk evening gown from my Spring/Summer 2015 collection.”


Shweta began writing on fashion when it wasn’t quite the opium of urban India. With a master's degree from London’s Central Saint Martins, she has previously worked as Fashion Features Editor with Grazia India, and authored a coffee table book titled Aharya, tracking the aesthetic attire at the Kumbh Mahaparv. Sh​weta​ is currently enjoying ​the liberating space of freelance​ writ​ing​ with beloved long black ​by her side.

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