Late last week, the world woke up to the devastating loss of Iraqi-born British architect, Zaha Hadid. Revered for her highly expressive forms of multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry, Hadid reputation was built on drawing ideas ahead of their time. Along with making an unmistakable name in the most elitist of design circles, Dame Zaha also made her mark in the realm of fashion, art and craftsmanship through her distinctive style and relentless approach to artistic excellence.
Hadid’s designs liberated architectural geometry whilst questioning the archaic principles of fragmented geometry. Through the creation of highly expressive, sweeping fluid forms of multiple perspective points, she evoked the chaos and flux of modern life. Her acclaimed body of work, which includes but is not limited to the MAXXI Museo in Rome, the Bridge Pavilion in Spain and the Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi (see these and more in the gallery above), embody her vision as a pioneer of parametricism, and an icon of neo-futurism. Formidably, Hadid separated herself from her contemporaries with her bold, mold-breaking designs influenced by the Russian abstract movement and postmodernism. Throughout her career, Dame Zaha’s consistency in delivering awe-inspiring structures won her high-profile commissions and architectural honours, such as her induction into the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth in 2012 and becoming the first female, Muslim recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2002.
Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Abu Dhabi. Hufton + Crow
Outside of the architectural world, Dame Zaha also made waves in the realm of haute couture and yacht making. Working with brands such as Chanel, Adidas and Blohm+Voss respectively, she brought her unapologetically adventurous creativity to the forefront of her being and refused to shrink from controversy.
Apart from a body of work from buildings to furniture, footwear and cars that delight and astound people all around the world, Hadid was also an extraordinary role model for women, Arab women in particular. Earning the nickname of “Queen of the Curve” through her dazzling, avant-garde structures, Hadid broke through the male-dominated profession’s stereotypes of architectural career paths for women, Arabs, émigrés or anyone who has ever felt like a square peg in a round hole. While there are many talented, recognised and respected female architects practicing around the world, Hadid was the only one to have so clearly punched a hole in that proverbial glass ceiling. For many rising female architects, losing Hadid is like seeing a beacon in the field extinguished.
The "Nova" shoe, designed by Zaha Hadid in collaboration with United Nude. Getty Images
Hadid believed in progress, both artistically and socially. A woman ahead of her time, she believed in using architecture – and all of its elements - as a competent medium of conveying new ideas and thoughts. Whilst her untimely death has left a void within the world she loved turning into a canvas, her career was nothing short of a profound contribution to the cultural shift currently unfolding within it. - Tanika D'Souza