The Abstractionist: Zaha Hadid's unfettered invention
From The New Yorker
December 21 & 28, 2009
One unusually warm afternoon last April, Zaha Hadid, the Baghdad-born, London-based architect, was seated on a banquette in the Mercer, in Soho, her preferred hotel in New York, eating a chicken panino. Bits of the sandwich were falling out of her mouth as she spoke, in a husky voice. She has a remarkably emotive face, which veers from sweetly girlish to volcanically enraged in a heartbeat (although the heart may skip that beat on witnessing this transformation for the first time). There's a distinctive orange stripe at the crest of her dark hair, and in certain lights it appears to glow, as though heated by the fierce ideation going on in the brain below. Ever since her twenties, Hadid has dressed to be noticed, and today was no exception. Clad in black leggings and a matching long-sleeved top, her body appeared to be made of twisted-together black balloons, and her dramatic cape (like Frank Lloyd Wright, she favors capes)—black, with scalloped edges—brought to mind a high-fashion peasant's shawl, producing an effect that was at once regal and homeless.
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Copyright © John Seabrook 2009. All rights
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