This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Zaha Hadid's iconic Fire Station at the Vitra Campus in Germany and Swarovski has joined the celebrations by commissioning a new installation by the architect for the company's HQ in Germany.
The Fire Station was a landmark project for the architect. 'I'm equally proud of all my projects as they each represent different times of my career and periods of research, but I have a particular affection for Vitra Fire Station as it was my first building,' says Hadid, whose full monograph, The Complete Zaha Hadid, also comes out this summer, published by Thames and Hudson.
'[Vitra Chairman] Rolf Fehlbaum shares my passion for architecture and was inspired by my early visualizations,' the architect adds. 'He dared to engage me without seeing a prior track record and without the certainty of public success. Returning to Vitra to work with Swarovski on this installation has been a very rewarding experience.'
The new work, entitled 'Prima', is created out of five individual parts that form a larger abstract piece, inspired by early sketches of the Fire Station. Prima is gun-smoke metal-coated, with a highly reflective sheen. The parts are made out of MaxPlatten, a composite material usually used for exterior cladding in buildings, combined with CNC milled hard foam for the sculpting of the piece's double curved surfaces. Spanning an impressive 11m in length and 8m in width, the art piece will be lit by led light strips.
The commission forms part of Hadid's long relationship with Swarovski; the luxury crystal company is well known for its creative collaborations with some of the big guns of the art, architecture and design world. In this case, a display of Hadid's original sketches and architectural models of the Fire Station will accompany Prima, giving an insight into her creative process.
The installation will be unveiled on 11 June, coinciding with the Art Basel fair, and will be on show for two months.