Zaha Hadid - Design New York Wednesday, June 6, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Max Protetch Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2007

  • Literature

    Peter Noever, ed., Zaha Hadid architecture, exh. cat., MAK, Vienna, 2003, pp. 31-33
    Patrick Schumacher and Gordana Fontana-Giusti, eds., Zaha Hadid: Complete Works, Major and Recent Works, London, 2004, pp. 228-29
    Philip Jodidio, Zaha Hadid, Complete Works 1979–2009, London, 2009, p. 522

  • Catalogue Essay

    Furniture and Flow in the Domestic Interiors of Zaha Hadid

    Zaha Hadid, the British-Iraqi architect, designer, and painter who died in 2016, is well remembered for creating some of the 21st century’s most distinctive buildings, architectural marvels with swooping, expressive forms that defy both gravity and convention. But long before she became the first woman to win architecture’s coveted Pritzker Prize in 2004, Hadid began her explorations into spatial intervention with the redesign of her bedroom as a child in Baghdad. Hers was an approach that saw no distinction between the design of master plans and buildings and the design of furniture and domestic objects, and throughout her career, Hadid’s works strove for a total harmony between landscape, exterior, and interior space. Before her untimely death, Hadid produced numerous furniture collections–as well as housewares, garments, jewelry, and even a car–in the sinuous style that became her trademark.

    The present bench appears to freeze movement, as though formed from a jet of molten metal, extruded at speed and shaped by the forces of physics. Though a domestic object, its cast aluminum form draws from the material lexicon of industry, with a seamlessly smooth surface and lustrous finish that evokes the curves of a high-performance automobile. At once abstract and familiar, its biomorphic depressions and projections suggest natural places to perch or recline, yet it resists mirroring the body in a way that precludes a multiplicity of function. Such intentional ambiguity rides the line between furniture and sculpture–only when activated by a sitter does the functionality of the bench’s form emerge.

    The bench was originally designed in 2003 as part of “Ice-Storm,” an experimental interior setting Hadid created for a retrospective at Vienna’s Museum für Angewandte Kunst. The “Ice-Storm” installation marked a significant moment for Hadid in realizing her architectural aspirations toward a wholly integrated interior environment where furniture and structure merge and blend into one seamless unit. This point in Hadid’s stylistic evolution found her transitioning away from the exploded and fragmented geometries of her early Deconstructivist years studying at the Architectural Association and working under the mentorship of Rem Koolhaas. By the early aughts, Hadid was staking new aesthetic territory, designing buildings and objects shaped by a mathematically informed, parametric fluidity that would earn her the rightful sobriquet, “Queen of the Curve."

    Hadid’s earliest built project was in fact designing interiors and furnishings for a private London residence, completed in 1985-1986. With her furniture for this commission, Hadid was already exploring notions of contiguity in domestic space. Her design for a built-in storage unit featured a sliding door that could camouflage it within the surrounding wall, and the surfaces of lounge seating and coffee tables were set flush in height, the pieces nestled together, nearly fused. A serpentine sofa with a wall-mounted backrest implied an impulse to soften the spatial transition from horizontal to vertical. Angular, jagged, with floating planes and unmodulated color, these designs reveal the impact Suprematism had on Hadid during her architectural studies and in the early years of her independent practice. In 1988, these pieces were adapted for the commercial market as the “Wave,” “Whoosh,” and “Projection” sofas by Italian manufacturer Edra.

    The architect’s first major interior commission came in 1989, on the heels of her inclusion in the seminal Museum of Modern Art exhibition, “Deconstructivist Architecture.” For the Monsoon restaurant and nightclub in Sapporo, Japan, Hadid developed two separate, stacked spaces, a lounge area and dining room, employing materials and color palettes evoking “fire” and “ice,” respectively. Lounge furnishing designs featured removable tray tables and backrests that modified the configuration and flow of the space and allowed for both dining and repose. Their asymmetrical, shard-like shapes made them nearly indistinguishable from the sculptural elements that punctuated the architecture of this interior.

    In 2000, Hadid designed the Z-Scape collection of lounge furnishings for Sawaya & Moroni in a volumetric idiom that prefigures her mature style. These sofas, tables, and benches were conceived as fragmentary pieces that were part of a larger whole. Like the glaciers and geological formations that inspired their design, individual elements could fuse together or cleave apart to dynamically reshape the interior landscape. 2002’s Z-Play seating series, also for Sawaya & Moroni, explored similar notions of versatility and portability using soft architectural forms. Informal and easily rearranged to encourage the free flow and usage of interior space, the Z-Scape and Z-Play collections make manifest Hadid’s rejection of formal furniture and the pedantry of the rigid architectural program.

    Her “Ice-Storm” installation at the 2003 MAK retrospective would be Hadid’s most complete domestic interior to date. This sculptural space functioned as a sort of built manifesto, a sui-generis and self-contained environment expressed exclusively through her unique design language. Visitors were encouraged to “inhabit the structure and to explore an open aesthetic that invites us to rethink our accepted ideas of domestic lifestyle and behavior.” With its dramatically lit pockets, passageways, niches and projections, “Ice-Storm” appeared carved or eroded from a singular mass–an architecture achieved not by construction, but by reduction. The fluid form and smooth surfaces rendered the boundaries between the pieces of furniture and the structure containing them ambiguous. Through this amoebic “morphing,” discrete furnishings functioned as organs within the larger organism of the interior. Designed and created using cutting-edge digital technology, “Ice-Storm” foretold of a domestic space unbound by the conventions of history. In Hadid’s vision, this futuristic interior represented a place where “neither familiar typologies nor any codes of conduct are yet associated with its morphology.”

    In 2003-2005 Hadid was finally able to apply the hypothetical experimentations of the “Ice-Storm” installation to a total design environment for the Hotel Puerta America, a collaborative boutique hospitality project in Madrid. Her design for the first floor features thirty guest rooms and common areas, each enveloped within a contiguous acrylic surface in a monochromatic scheme of white, black, or orange. The interior of each room flows seamlessly, the walls, bed platform, desk, and bath fixtures emerging organically from the continuous
    curve. The effect was achieved by transferring Hadid’s digital designs to a computerized milling machine that cut the molds used to thermoform the plastic surface elements.

    The formal language and spatial philosophy first realized with “Ice-Storm” and its components, including the present bench, would continue to influence the furniture collections and objects Hadid designed throughout the remainder of her career. Even outside the internal logic of a comprehensive Hadid interior, the bench’s sculptural form and arrested movement provide a visual inertia that suggests the imaginary topographies that lay beyond.

Property from a Private Collection, Switzerland



Painted aluminum.
45 x 164 x 75 in. (114.3 x 416.6 x 190.5 cm)
Produced by Max Protetch Gallery, New York. Executed by Tallix, Beacon, New York. Number 6 from the edition of 12 plus 2 artist's proofs. Impressed ZAHA HADID 2006 6 / 12 TALLIX.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $125,000

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New York Auction 6 June 2018