Zaha Hadid’s Splendor in the Grass


Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid isn’t the first person you’d expect to find at an English garden party. As last year’s Guggenheim Museum retrospective of her career helped to demonstrate, Hadid favors Russian Constructivism and sleek Donna Karan separates over manicured hedges and flowered dresses.

But a new temporary installation by Hadid was at the center of Wednesday’s Summer Party fundraiser for the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens.

Like many of Hadid’s works, this one defies simple description. Raised on a low platform on the lawn just south of the Serpentine, the installation (above, in a rendering by Hadid) consists of an 18-foot-tall, complexly symmetrical structure that is made up of three fabric “parasols" that fit together without actually touching.

The structures resemble the bases of kitten-heeled shoes (how garden-party appropriate) while summoning the organic, monumental, and rather spooky futurism that is Hadid’s trademark.

The installation, which was co-designed by Patrik Schumacher, a partner in Hadid’s architectural firm, is on view through July 21.

Meanwhile, Londoners also have more enduring Hadid works to look forward to--her firm is currently at work on buildings for the city's Architecture Foundation and the Aquatic Centre for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

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