Zaha Hadid’s Boldly Curvaceous Forms and Surfaces from Milan

International, Product
Monday, April 28, 2014
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Zaha Hadid's Manta Ray bench. (Jacopo Spilimbergo)

Zaha Hadid’s Manta Ray bench. (Jacopo Spilimbergo)

While much of the work introduced at Milan this year played it safe—distinctly conservative colors, forms familiar from the 1950s, cautious use of materials—some architects’ designs took, shall we say, a bolder stance. But: Was it a better one? You, ever-opinionated reader, shall and no doubt will be the judge of that. Among the boldest of the bold designs this year were four pieces presented by Zaha Hadid.

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Manta Ray Bench by Zaha Hadid. (Jacopo Spilimbergo)

Most photos we’ve seen of the aluminum Manta Ray seating underscore its unfortunate semblance, not to the graceful sea creature, but to a giant human posterior. At AN, we’re taking the high road, featuring this more abstracted view of the piece. But it may not be enough to erase the obvious imagery.

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Calla Fireplace by Zaha Hadid. Photograph by Jacopo Spilimbergo.

Here, Hadid has designed a fireplace, which appears to have melted into a puddle of black marble. Ironically cold design, for an interiors element that generates heat.

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Luna Table by Zaha Hadid. Photograph by Jacopo Spilimbergo.

Thumbs up on this one. A rectangular top is a disciplined extension of the vaguely tripod-ish base. Great stone fabrication, and we wouldn’t even mind bumping our knees on the legs of this terrific table.

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Tela Shelving by Zaha Hadid. Photograph by Jacopo Spilimbergo.

A welcome departure from the blobby, yes? But the mid-point of the unit seems to be a bit dysfunctional for shelving, lacking any level horizontal surfaces, but hey, it’s all about the cantilever.

Looking back on Salone 2014, it’s interesting that one can fairly easily discern which pieces were architect-generated versus those that were created by industrial designers. The latter are trained (and paid) to produce commercially viable furniture collections, while the former are free to indulge in the making of domestic monuments.

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