March 13, 2008 / 8:29 AM / 10 years ago

Zaha Hadid toys with nomadic architecture

HONG KONG (Reuters Life!) - Mobile buildings and museums could adorn the cities of the future, renowned architect Zaha Hadid said during the launch of her latest project in Hong Kong -- a nomadic, UFO-shaped art pavilion.

The curved, fluid creation by Hadid was assembled in Hong Kong on the first leg of a two-year global promotional tour for contemporary art inspired by luxury goods brand Chanel.

“I really believe in the idea of the future,” said Iraqi-born Hadid, known for her futuristic designs.

“The idea of temporary or mobile pieces could be a way of regenerating the city in an interesting way through architecture,” she told reporters in Hong Kong.

Hadid became the first woman to win the Pritzker prize, architecture’s equivalent of the Nobel prize, in 2004, and is considered one of the world’s top architects.

The “Mobile Art” pavilion, modeled along spiraling shapes found in nature, was designed to exhibit the work of 20 contemporary artists including Yoko Ono, Argentina’s Leandro Erlich, Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki, The Blue Noses of Russia and Lee Bul of Korea.

An exterior view is seen of the futuristic pavilion created by British-Iraqi deconstructivist architect Zaha Hadid for Chanel's "Mobile Art" exhibition, placed in Hong Kong's Central district February 26, 2008. REUTERS/Victor Fraile

Inside the pavilion, guests are guided through a series of darkened chambers by the husky voice of French actress Jeanne Moreau.

“Be a voyeur,” rasps Moreau on the show’s soundtrack. “It’s so good to surrender to the absurd, to play the fool with fools.”

From insect wings fluttering down a dark well, to wishing trees, naked women writhing inside boxes and tattooed pigs, Hadid said the project aimed to evoke a surreal, cinematic experience.

“You are not confined to look at space in one given way ... you can really meander around, it’s not a cell and it gives you a degree of imagination,” said Hadid.

“You don’t always have to show art in what’s called a white box, you can have a kind of complexity within an exhibit which actually respects the art as well.”

The pavilion was assembled on the roof of a downtown Hong Kong car park, surrounded by soaring skyscrapers alongside the former British colony’s iconic Victoria harbor.

Hong Kong is the launch spot for the exhibition, which will move around the globe over the next two years. Its next stop will be Tokyo.

Editing by Sophie Hardach

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