Zaha Hadid in Italy - The MAXXI Special - Domus

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Special

Img.1 “Zaha Hadid in Italy”, exhibition view, MAXXI, Roma 2017. Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI
 

Zaha Hadid in Italy

In the extensive monograph dedicated to the Anglo-Iraqi architect, the container coincides with the content: from the building of MAXXI to the many works realised in Italy.

 

The MAXXI Special

A year on from her untimely death, celebrates one the most influential architects of our times, the first female winner of the Pritzker Prize and whose work includes the design of MAXXI itself.

Curated by Margherita Guccione, director of MAXXI architecture and Woody Yao, director of Zaha Hadid Design, the exhibition aims to highlight the intense relationship the Anglo-Iraqi architect had with Italy, from buildings that were built there to product design for Italian manufacturers. “Zaha Hadid in Italy” is accompanied by a catalogue in Italian and English published by Quodlbet, edited by Pippo Ciorra and Margherita Guccione, with critical essays by authors including Patrik Shumacher, Stefano Boeri, Richard Burdett, Maurizio Gentile, Luca Molinari, Deyan Sudjic, Domitilla Dardi, and enriched by a section dedicated to photographs by Hélène Binet.

 

As Margherita Guccione points out, “Zaha Hadid in Italy” is a journey into the thinking of the brilliant designer of MAXXI who regarded with great interest the artistic and architectural tradition of our country. The dynamic evocations of baroque in Rome, the kaleidoscopic visions of Italian futurism, the experimental work of Luigi Moretti and Pier Luigi Nervi are just some of the declared references in her designs. And it is precisely the sculptural use of concrete – tested by Italian engineers in the artisan building sites of the post-war period – that via successive phases of abstraction, finally takes us to the concrete of MAXXI, the first work to be built in Italy and to the contemporary and powerful Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsbourg, both occasions of extensive formal research as well as structural.

Housed in the spaces of the most spectacular part of the museum, Gallery 5, with the large window that looks out onto the piazza, the exhibition explores transversally the work and thinking of Hadid: from painterly and conceptual sketches to three-dimensional models, from virtual representations to interdisciplinary studies, together with objects, videos and photographs that reveal the constant effort of pioneering and experimental research. Realised by Zaha Hadid Design, that in recent years has been responsible for all the design of the exhibitions on the studio, the installation takes inspiration from the architect’s sketches for MAXXI: a three-dimensional version of the fluid lines imagined for the museum that adapting to the curves and slopes of Gallery 5, brings together the material, organised in different areas.

Img.11 “Zaha Hadid in Italy”, exhibition view, MAXXI, Roma 2017. Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI

Img.11 “Zaha Hadid in Italy”, exhibition view, MAXXI, Roma 2017. Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI


An important part of the exhibition is dedicated to Italian architectural projects, including the Maritime Terminal in Salerno that with its organic, oyster-shaped structure establishes a new link between the city and the sea; the Messner Mountain Museum at Plan de Corones that sits in the heart of the mountain and opens up new views; the vertiginous Torre Generali for City Life in Milan that constructs a new urban horizon with its remarkable vertical torsion; the Station for high speed trains at Afragola, recently opened, and MAXXI itself, whose fluid and dynamic forms establish themselves on the site defining the perimeter not only of a museum but of a real public and urban space.

A further, large section of the exhibition focuses on the relationship between Zaha Hadid and Italian-made design, with which the architect had established interesting and regular creative partnerships. Even when designing furniture and accessories, Hadid remained first and foremost always an architect and her objects wind around space like true micro-architectures. From sofas for B&B Italia and Cassina to lamps for Slamp, from vases and table pieces for Alessi to modular bookcases for Magis, from chairs, benches, tables for Sawaya & Moroni up to forays into the world of exclusive jewellery, with the ring B.zero1 and fashion with the bag designed for a charity event by Fendi. A constant experimentation with form described via drawings, videos, prototypes, objects that describe a complex design process able to cross over between different scales and functions.

Img.12 “Zaha Hadid in Italy”, exhibition view, MAXXI, Roma 2017. Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI

Img.12 “Zaha Hadid in Italy”, exhibition view, MAXXI, Roma 2017. Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI


The exhibition also includes a spectacular 20-metre-long wall with video projections that describe projects by Zaha Hadid from all over the world, along with a suspended ribbon that holds photographs by Helene Binet, who has portrayed almost all of her works of architecture. Visitors can also admire a number of large paintings that reveal the Anglo-Iraqi architect’s link with Russian Suprematism such as Malevich’s Tektonic (2015) and Metropolis (2014). A separate section of the exhibition (ZH CoDe) finally documents the work of Studio Hadid on parametric and interdisciplinary design, using the sophisticated digital technologies that have contributed to defining and creating her unique expressive and formal language and that now project towards the future. To conclude with the words of Woody Yao; “We continue to evolve, but we feel committed to staying on the path set by Zaha. In many ways, the exhibition is both a retrospective but also a declaration of intent with which we express our commitment to the production of new ideas and solutions that can raise standards and produces benefits for everyone”.

Img.13 “Zaha Hadid in Italy”, exhibition view, MAXXI, Roma 2017. Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI

Img.13 “Zaha Hadid in Italy”, exhibition view, MAXXI, Roma 2017. Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI



until 14 January 2018
Zaha Hadid in Italy
MAXXI Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo
via Guido Reni, 4/A, Rome