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Zaha Hadid’s Chessboard Looks Just As Alien As Her Buildings

The architect’s chess set looks like a mini urban universe where all the skyscrapers are so Zaha.

Living in a Zaha Hadid residence (or yacht) may be out of reach for most, but now you can bring a little of Zaha into your own home. During the ongoing London Design Festival, Hadid has launched a line of housewares at the luxury London department store Harrods.

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Having previously ventured into the world of furniture, the designs, as always, are signature Zaha–curving and parametric and, when it comes to figuring out their intended use, occasionally baffling. Her new line includes tableware, candelabra, and–yes–a chess set, which bear subtle resemblance to a host of the designer’s architectural work.


The chess pieces, made of polished resin, resemble the a variety of the architect’s twisting high-rise designs. Arranged on the board, they become a kind of city skyline–a kind of alternate universe hint at what a all-Hadid-designed city might look like. Called the Field of Towers chess set, the pieces are arranged on the board by height, with only a few distinguishing details to help you determine which bulbous, undulating form is your knight, and which your bishop. Surely this has all the trappings of a great game between wonky architects–
Bratislava Culenova New City Center to B4!”

Though not explicitly mentioned, there are other echoes of the architect’s previous large-scale work in her housewares, too. The Aqua Platter, inspired by the architect’s London Aquatics Center (which may or may not resemble a potato chip), subtly mirrors the swooshing curves of the Olympic facility. Her twisting candelabra hints at the geometric arc of the Marseille skyscraper headquarters she built for French shipping company CMA CGM. A candle’s chunky form echos her City of Dreams hotel tower.

If they’re anything like her other small-scale designs, these trinkets won’t come cheap. Her boldly sculptural furniture can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction. Still, it’s a price many are apparently willing to pay to own a little echo of a starchitect’s genius.

[H/T Dezeen]

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About the author

Shaunacy Ferro is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, urban design and the sciences. She's on a lifelong quest for the perfect donut.

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