Zaha Hadid’s untimely death not only leaves behind an unfinished legacy in the creation of fantastically futuristic buildings; but it also leaves behind a budding career in jewelry design.
The Pritzker Prize winner and the world’s most famous and accomplished female architect suddenly and unexpectedly died March 31 of a heart attack while in Miami. She was 65.
Hadid’s buildings are characterized by curving forms, often inspired by nature, with multiple perspectives. Her jewelry is also characterized by these same curved and rounded shapes.
The first piece of jewelry she created in 2014 was an 18k white gold cuff for Lebanese jewelry house Aziz and Walid Mouzannar. Called the Silene cuff, it is set with more than 1,000 diamonds that appear to branch out from petal-shaped sections that frame the piece. She followed this up in January with a collection of matching rings and cuffs with various takes on the same pattern. The collection was expanded through colors and materials, adding yellow, pink and oxidized 18k gold and other colored gems. The rings are more than two inches long and include a hinged joint to accommodate a bending knuckle.
However, it was her most recent collaboration with Georg Jensen that has the potential to reach a mass audience while bringing the Danish brand into the modern era.
Georg Jensen unveiled the new jewelry line, called “Georg Jensen X Zaha Hadid The Lamellae Collection,” on March 17 at Baselworld. The collection of five rings and three cuff bangles was inspired by the Wangjing Soho near Beijing, designed by Ms. Hadid, an office complex of three curvilinear asymmetric buildings that appear to circle one another and change appearance with the light of the day and the angle they are viewed.
Crafted in sterling silver and sterling silver plated black rhodium set with black diamonds, the jewels in the collection feature smooth flowing ribbon-like shapes contrasted with sharp edges. The silver naturally alternates between a polished and matte effect, while the black rhodium set with black diamond pieces have a subtle gleam to the graphic, architectural forms. The signature piece in the collection is the lengthy cuff bracelet that wraps the wrist and engages light.
This is not just a “starchitect” putting her name on a product. This is a well-thought out contemporary, architecturally influenced collection of jewels that express modern elegance.
The curved and rounded shapes and strong architectural tendencies should have a strong influence on those who create jewels with CAD and 3D printers. Hadid has provided a road map on how to create jewelry that is both modern and aesthetically pleasing. This is the type of work that can easily be reproduced using modern jewelry-making technologies. In fact, it isn’t farfetched to imagine Hadid creating jewels and other objects using the same tools.