Zaha Hadid Designs for Georg Jensen
New York Times, March 20, 2016
Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi-British architect lauded for her experimental, neo-modernist style, is no stranger to cross-collaborations. She has designed shoes for Adidas, wallpaper for Marburg Wallcoverings and paintings inspired by Russian Suprematist art for a 2015 exhibit at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
At this week’s Baselworld fair in Switzerland, Ms. Hadid returns to familiar terrain: jewelry. The architect, who has previously designed limited collections for the Austrian crystal maker Swarovski and the Swiss luxury jeweler Caspita, has joined with the Danish brand Georg Jensen on a line of rings and cuff bracelets rendered in sterling silver and black rhodium-plated silver peppered with black diamonds.
She also designed an installation for the brand’s booth in Basel to give guests an immersive introduction to the collection.
The venture had its genesis in September 2014, when Ms. Hadid attended the opening of her Wangjing Soho project in Beijing, a three-tower complex of curvaceous, mountain-like forms and linear garlands of light. At the event, she met David Chu, chairman and creative director of Georg Jensen. “She was wearing a lot of her jewelry,” he recalled. “She’d made a lot of prototypes. I saw them and thought they were pretty cool.”
Mr. Chu broached the idea of a collaboration with Ms. Hadid and cemented the deal during a follow-up visit to Ms. Hadid’s studio in London a few months later.
Ms. Hadid, who had designed a few 3-D-printed rings for the executive who hired her for the Wangjing project, elaborated on her initial inspiration for the Jensen collection. “You can’t translate a building into a ring directly, but the striation comes from the elevation of the buildings,” she said. “The forms are not identical to the project but of course they are inspired by them.”
Eva-Lotta Sjostedt, Georg Jensen’s chief executive, described the collection as “very clean and quite edgy.” She said the pieces, which will sell from $500 for the all-silver styles to $25,000 for those in black rhodium with black diamonds, would be available at the brand’s network of boutiques and at a handful of select wholesale accounts in September.
“The pieces are quite large, so they really make an impression,” Ms. Sjostedt said. “You really need to be quite confident to wear them.”