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"Creating a new, continuous space..."
A conversation with Zaha Hadid about her exhibition design for "All the Best"

At the very latest since 2004, when she was awarded the renowned Pritzker Prize, Zaha Hadid has become the most coveted architect worldwide. Her revolutionary concepts are currently being celebrated at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and she's created the architectural design for the anniversary exhibition of the Deutsche Bank Collection for the third time now. For "All the Best," the last station of the exhibition tour, Zaha Hadid has installed an inimitable dynamic spatial landscape in the Singapore Art Museum - a conceptual architecture that enables visitors to discover the Deutsche Bank Collection all on their own. Marc Spiegler met the London-based star architect for a talk.

Zaha Hadid at the opening of "25", the anniversary exhibition of the Deutsche Bank Collection at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, Photo Mathias Schormann

Marc Spiegler: How would you describe this design's relation to the two previous jubilee exhibitions of the Deutsche Bank Collection?

Zaha Hadid: As the Deutsche Bank Collection itself is solidly grounded, but continues to be fluid and fresh, we considered how best to compliment, reinforce and contextualize the works within the each exhibition. In extending and transforming the geometry of these art centres, the new exhibition design is a continuum of fluent and dynamic space, where the oppositions between exterior and interior, old and new, geometry and nature are synthesized. The lines of energy converge within the building, redefining the quality of the surrounding urban space; guiding movement through the space.

Zaha Hadid's exhibition design for "25" at Deutsche Guggenheim,
Photos Mathias Schormann

Both the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo have their own formal logic, which represents a key principle behind our designs. In Berlin, the visitor entered a strange space, configured of a cluster of interpenetrating ellipsoidal voids, like air bubbles within a solid, then proceeded through these bubbles until they turned from void to solid and started to float within the large atrium space behind the gallery.

Design for "Tokyo Blossoms", the second station
of the anniversary exhibition at the Hara Museum in Tokio,
Photo © KatrinPaul

In Tokyo, the initial point of departure for the design was a series of studies of the characteristics of textiles and their ability to transform. These studies helped us to create a design which enabled us to reproduce their qualities such as lightness, softness and flexibility. We were also interested in the notion of a temporal and growthbased system, which would highlight the very moment in which the exhibition took place.

Design for "All the Best" at the Singapore Art Museum,
Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects, London

For the Singapore Art Museum , we created a holistic environment in interpreting the geometries of the building. The form of the exhibition design is derived from the juxtaposition and distortion of the museum's base grid, creating a continuous space that joins all the displayed artwork in a new environment and expresses the circulation of visitors cohesively.

What relation do you see between this project and your Cincinnati museum project?

As the Rosenthal Center in Cincinnati has done, this installation exhibition design engages with the community, I hope helping to broaden the audience for contemporary art. It plays an important role in developing local art enthusiasts into an involved community. The openness of the ground level of the Rosenthal Center and the penetration of light into various parts of the building make the passer-by aware that there is something exciting going on inside. The ground floor surface bends upwards at the back of the building creating a strong continuity with the vertical circulation space cutting through the building. The topologies of streetscapes and urban street patterns contribute directly to the interior landscape of the art centre. At Cincinnati, this surface is the "urban carpet" that articulates the public accessibility of the building from the horizontal to the vertical. The exhibition design at the Singapore Art Museum is a literal manifestation of the same accessibility for visitors.

Lois and Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, 1997-2003, Photo Hélène Binet,
Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects, London

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