Zaha Hadid has opened a new design gallery in Clerkenwell, London. Her distinctive style is not for everyone; either you like it or not. What can’t be argued however is her business success and importance as a role model for female architects.
Another question is how well the design language suites a much smaller scale e.g. furniture and objects like jewellery and accessories like the handbag for Louis Vuitton. It is the first time the practice’s forays into furnishings have been brought together in one place. It is worth a visit to see the giant furniture pieces for real.
Further up the building, open by appointment only, lies the real treasure trove, which helps explain how this unique formal approach has been incubated over the last 30 years. Here a vast archive of architectural models has been brought together on display for the first time. “Zaha has always wanted to lay everything out in one place, as much as a resource for the office as for the public,” says Melodie Leung, who has worked as an architect for Hadid for the last eight years and now runs the gallery. What is on show here is only a fraction of the archive, but it is intended as a reference library for the office as much as anything, for teams to take inspiration from previous projects.
When trying to locate the gallery I went by mistake to Zaha Hadid’s main office here in London. It is surprisingly modest building in the middle of Clerkenwell. The only giveaway is the bench outside.
The entrance door is enormous yet simple, very traditional unlike her own style but tells about her attraction towards the power of scale.