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Baselworld 2016: Zaha Hadid + Georg Jensen

The architect uses her Beijing buildings as inspiration for a jewelry line of miniature sculptures

by David Graver
on 18 March 2016

At the dinner of a mutual friend, David Chu, the Chairman and Chief Creative Director of Danish design brand Georg Jensen, sat beside globally acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid. Chu, a longtime fan of Hadid's work, was taken by the jewelry she was wearing. This would initiate a conversation that led to a collaborative, multi-faceted unveiling at this year's Baselworld watch and jewelry fair. The Georg Jensen + Zaha Hadid collection features five rings and three cuffs or bangles—in both sterling silver (the material of Jensen's famed origins) and a refined black rhodium with black diamond details. All of the pieces make reference to Hadid's architectural work—specifically the buildings that brought the architect and Chu to dinner: Beijing's Galaxy Soho and Wangjing Soho towers. Graceful, sweeping curves define the buildings and the collection. The jewelry has now inspired a temporary installation beside the Georg Jensen Baselworld booth—a lounge for exhibition goers to perch beneath.

"Sometimes a good dinner comes out with a good idea," Chu explains to CH, with a smile. The two would meet again in London to develop a few concepts. "We sought to make a jewelry miniaturization of her conceptual ideals. To get that impact, you need to stop people and allow them to catch the details—to let them see that they carry her whole philosophy, proportion and style." The collection does convey this. The organic embrace of each piece employs a visual energy that's both natural and futuristic. Not only are they miniature sculptures, they're also an ideal amalgamation of both brands' aesthetics.

"It’s a two-way process; we apply our architectural research to these designs, but we have also learnt a great deal about the unique materials and craftsmanship of Georg Jensen’s work," Hadid shares with CH. "The idea for a building, an installation or a piece of jewelry can come up just as quickly, but there is obviously a big difference in these critical processes of how each is developed.” Trust, Chu adds, allowed this collaboration to come to fruition.

As for the installation, it's composed of CNC polystyrene, but uses metal framing as a reinforcement. The work has been finished with a mineral coating, fiberglass and RAL 9006 paint. Uniform lines swoop around and overhead before converging. At 15 meters long, it stretches far enough to allow for ample visitors to step inside. While it does feel distinctly like a work by Hadid, it works in perfect harmony with the collaborative jewelry collection and the Georg Jensen brand in its entirety. In a way, the jewelry appears to be shimmering fossils from the future, and the installation comes across as the vehicle to get there by.

The Zaha Hadid lounge installation is on view now through 24 March 2016 at Baselworld. The Georg Jensen + Zara Hadid collection will launch in September 2016.

Images courtesy of Georg Jensen

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