Defpoints


Zaha in Chanel
July 24, 2008, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Architecture

From the New York Times:

Called Mobile Art, the structure itself was designed by the renowned London architect Zaha Hadid and will occupy the Rumsey Playfield, midpark at 70th Street, from Oct. 20 to Nov. 9. (It is Ms. Hadid’s first New York building, albeit temporary, an has already made stops in Hong Kong and Tokyo and is headed later for London, Moscow and Paris.)

Yet beyond its artistic mission, the pavilion is a provocative advertisement. Chanel, the fashion brand, commissioned Ms. Hadid to create the traveling structure to house works by about 15 hot contemporary artists. Each was asked to create a work that was at least in part inspired by Chanel’s classic 2.55 quilted-style chain handbag, so named because it was first issued in February 1955.

In an interview in her London office, Ms. Hadid said that even though she has not yet designed a permanent building in New York, she liked the idea that the pavilion “lands, creates a buzz and disappears.”

The challenge, she said, was to create a pavilion that was both visually compelling and could be easily transported. Each piece had to fit together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

Using computer software Ms. Hadid designed a 7,500-square-foot doughnut-shape structure with a central courtyard. Its lightweight panels can be packed in 51 shippable containers; no panel is wider than 7.38 feet.

Skylights admit natural light, and computer-generated lighting casts a rainbow of colors around the base of the exterior that glows day and night.

Visitors entering the pavilion will be given MP3 players. On a track created by the sound artist Stephan Crasneanscki they will hear the French actress Jeanne Moreau discussing everything from sex and love to the secrets at the bottom of a woman’s handbag.

Its transitory nature, everyone agreed, will be part of the allure. “It’s like an alien spacecraft that lands in the park and, before you know it, takes off again,” Mr. Benepe said.

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