Crystal brand Swarovski has commissioned architect Zaha Hadid to create a celebratory installation to mark the completion 20 years ago of her first major built project, the Fire Station at Vitra Campus, Weil am Rhein, Germany.
The installation, entitled Prima, is an angular piece made from five highly polished components that can be moved into different configurations. It will be installed in front of the Fire Station, reflecting and honouring the design process of the building. “The project recalls the dynamism of Hadid’s original drawings created for the Vitra Fire Station, exploding in three dimensions from the lines and planes of the paintings and sketches.” says Swarovski. “Its reflective surfaces contain seating for visitors and are illuminated with LED technology.”
“For years, her radical designs remained on the drawing board, but the turning point came in 1993 with the opening of the Vitra Fire Station commissioned by Vitra’s Chairman Rolf Fehlbaum. Painting formed a critical part of Hadid’s early career as the design tool that allowed powerful experimentation in both form and movement – leading to the development of a new language for architecture.”
“Hadid’s interest in the concepts of fragmentation and abstraction is evident throughout her repertoire and continues to this day. Originally engaging with the work of Kazimir Malevich, Hadid translated the warped and anti-gravitational space of Russian avant-garde painting and sculpture into her own unique architectural practice.”
“Using the advanced design and manufacturing technologies available today, the facets of Prima are a direct translation of the dynamic two-dimensional lines and planes on the canvas, reflecting Hadid’s detailed experimentation to perfect the Fire Station design. The installation continues this research, documenting Hadid’s remarkable journey as an articulator of complexity: a 2D sketch evolves into a workable space, and then into a realised building.”
Prima is a structure composed of five highly polished components with angled planes, the installation is made from composite materials, and the surfaces are covered in a gun-smoke metal coating. Each component weighs 300 to 500 kg and the overall dimension of the installation is 11 x 8 metres.
Prima will be showcased outside the Fire station from June 12 to August 11, 2013. The installation can be viewed as part of the public architectural tours.