The life and work of architect Zaha Hadid was honoured at this year’s Designer Kitchen & Bathroom Awards with the posthumous presentation of the Simon Taylor Award for Lifetime Achievement.
When it comes to bold, innovative and truly different architecture and design, there is no-one who comes close to the truly distinctive work of Zaha Hadid. Known globally for her striking and varied projects around the world, she was an innovator who challenged the status quo of architectural form and construction.
The architectural community was shocked at news of her sudden death in March 2016, and there remains a real sense of loss not just of a remarkable individual, but also of the incredible buildings that she would no doubt have dreamed up in the years to come.
Given her far-reaching impact and influence, it seemed entirely appropriate that she should be awarded the Simon Taylor Award for Lifetime Achievement, named in memory of a talented young kitchen designer who won one of the very first awards when the Designer Kitchen & Bathroom Awards started 14 years ago. She joins a list of past winners that reads like a who’s who of some of the biggest names in design. Mark Wilkinson, Robin Levien, Johnny Grey, Karim Rashid, Marc Newson, Sieger Design, Matteo Thun, Ludovica & Roberto Palomba, and Philippe Starck are among the past recipients.
Hadid was a pioneer in every sense of the world. An architect whose bold creativity and truly unique ‘other worldly’ style set her up for clashes with traditionalists but whose passion and belief saw her eventually achieve the recognition she deserved.
Born in Baghdad in 1950, Hadid studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before starting her architectural journey in 1972 at the Architectural Association in London. By 1979, she had established her own practice in London – Zaha Hadid Architects – garnering a reputation across the world for her ground-breaking theoretical works.
Working with office partner Patrik Schumacher, her interest was in the interface between architecture, landscape, and geology, which her practice integrates with the use of innovative technologies often resulting in unexpected and dynamic architectural forms.
Hadid was a woman who fought the odds in a male-dominated profession to become one of global architecture’s towering figures, with a level of influence and inspiration that very few individuals have achieved – or will ever achieve in the future. She twice won the RIBA Stirling Prize, and early this year was awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal. In 2004, Hadid became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and was made an DBE in 2012.
Some of her designs are landmark buildings that have become must-sees for anyone with an interest in architecture. Her first major commission – and the one that earned her international recognition – was the Vitra Fire Station in Weil Am Rhein, Germany (1993). Subsequent notable projects including the MAXXI Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, Italy (2009), the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games in London (2011), and the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan (2013), illustrate her quest for complex, fluid space.
As well as her iconic buildings, she – and her colleagues – have carried this highly distinctive, fluid and seemingly impossible design style through to a wide range of products including kitchenware, glassware and kitchen and bathroom furniture and fittings. The practice has worked with manufacturers around the world designing a host of varied products, including furniture for B&B Italia, taps for Triflow, and shoes for Lacoste.
But it was for the unmistakable style of architecture that Hadid will be best remembered, not just for the bold and impossibly flowing aesthetic of her buildings, but also as someone with the inspiration, vision and determination to turn these almost dream-like spaces into reality.
Zaha Hadid Architects / zaha-hadid.com
SIMON TAYLOR AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT – PAST WINNERS
2004 – Mark Wilkinson
2006 – Paolo Pininfarina
2007 – Robin Levien
2008 – Johnny Grey
2009 – Philippe Starck
2010 – Marc Newson
2011 – Matteo Thun
2012 – Karim Rashid
2013 – Sieger Design
2015 – Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
2016 – Zaha Hadid