Fashion icon: Hadid and Lagerfeld combine

What do you get if you combine the starchitect Zaha Hadid and Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld? A handbag-inspired portable pavilion, of course

Take one of Britain's leading architects. Put her together with one of the world's best-known fashion designers, and the result is not just a new art work but a love-in. Zaha Hadid and Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld have joined forces on a new art installation, which will be unveiled in New York in October, and then come to Britain next year.

The Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion, a translucent structure, is described with quite tragic bathos by Chanel's sirens as "a gleaming futuristic pavilion with the startling appearance of a glamorous spaceship". With a steel frame "constructed at a factory in Yorkshire", the pavilion's loop-form folds into a sequence of darkened spaces "embracing visitors in intimate proximity to the art, and one another, before depositing them into the daylight-suffused central court at the end of the exhibition".

Yet even Chanel's hyperbole – "a pavilion that, like a handbag, is a completely portable and functional container with vast symbolic potential" – eventually returns us to the key leitmotif, the pavilion's "immersive field". As if in a film, explains Hadid, we are not seeing the world from a particular angle, but always getting a more complex and multidimensional view.

Meanwhile, Lagerfeld has been busy taking photographs of Hadid. They have, according to an informant who has seen them, recast her persona. The handful of portentous portraits – lush of texture, imperious of gaze – that the media have used endlessly have been upstaged by monochrome shots that are said to give the architect the look of an ingénue. Hadid and Lagerfeld are said to have got on like a Cap d'Antibes villa on fire, and he insisted on taking pictures of her, getting an assistant to snap a portrait of them together.

"She is a kind of Coco Chanel of today," says Lagerfeld, "not in fashion, but in architecture. If you are lucky enough to know the greatest living architect, and to have her accept an invitation to do a project, it is magical... This all began with a small sketch, a computer drawing, a concept. I gave Zaha the general idea in a few moments, and her interpretation and fulfilment of that idea is more than perfect."

That he thinks of her Mobile Art Pavilion as being very like the classic Chanel handbag – ah, that'll be the vast symbolic potential, in reverse! – is perfectly apt. Hadid, an architect famous for polemical, neo-Suprematist art works a decade before she designed and completed her first building in 1994, is no longer inscrutable or "difficult". Having won the profession's Oscar, the Pritzker Prize, she remains drolly performative in person, but is no longer specifically characterised by her Jimmy Choos, or her retinue of true believers.

The architect has become a lifestylist, a font of consumable creation. Her London studio is filled with protégés, who may find themselves working simultaneously on architectural details for a concert hall in the Middle East, and the morphing of a divan to look like a bar of melting chocolate. During the London Design Museum's engrossing exhibition of Hadid's work last year, the word she used most tellingly was "landscape". Buildings, consumer products, yachts – all were metaphorical landscapes. The complexities of Hadid's architecture – its field conditions, torsions, scalar effects and layering – are evolving into a formal language deemed applicable to any object.

The primal fusions of tension and seismic eruption that characterised her seminal Vitra fire station in 1994 have given way to buildings, furniture, Alessi vases, Louis Vuitton bags, and Swarovski necklaces and chandeliers that draw from geometry and landform.

The dismountable pavilion is made of highly engineered, gleaming white arched fibreglass-reinforced panels. It's an itinerant sculpture comprising 700 components that, once assembled, have the look of a sculpture by Naum Gabo. "For me," says Hadid, "the fascination of the project was the challenge of translating the intellectual and physical into the sensual – experimenting with completely unexpected spaces and a totally immersive environment."

Hadid sees it as a "total art work" that reinvents itself as it moves to the USA, to Russia and to Europe. The pavilion's form is a torus, with the circular geometry that one finds in a nautilus. Its key sense is of a form with no obvious beginning, or end; it might also be characterised as a mysteriously smoothed pebble, and it also recalls the super-smooth organic shapes of the four stations that Hadid designed for the Nordpark Cable Railway at Innsbruck. The line between architecture and sculpture is obliterated.

A mobile marvel

The Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion (above) is a fully transportable structure that has moved through Asia and will be erected in New York, London, Moscow and Paris. Inside is an art exhibition celebrating Chanel handbags.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on