Zaha Hadid in Venice
Date: 27. May – 27. November 2016
Location: Palazzo Franchetti, Campo Santo Stefano, Venice
Spanning four decades of Zaha Hadid's creative work, the exhibition begins with sensational but equally unrealisable drawings and designs of the late seventies and the eighties, and ends with work in progress. Projects currently being worked on at the Zaha Hadid Architects office are likewise showcased, such as the Port House in Antwerp, the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre in Riad and the Mathematics Gallery for the Science Museum in London.
On entering the staircase with its lavish stucco embellishments and ornate paintwork, the visitor immediately encounters a forest of eccentric high-rise towers – namely 3D-printed models that have been put on show to demonstrate the office's digital form-finding processes. The individual rooms are dedicated to differing themes such as milestones in Zaha Hadid's career (Vitra Fire Station, Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, MAXXI Museum in Rome) as well as furniture and jewellery designs by the architect. The information on the individual exhibits is unfortunately only very sparing.
For all that, the juxtaposition of exhibition and venue is fascinating. Built in the 16th century and beautifully sited at the Canale Grande, Palazzo Franchetti was elaborately restored in the Gothic Revival style during the historicist period. The extravagant forms seen in the models and renderings of Zaha Hadid's architecture fuse almost seamlessly with the grandiose interior style of the building.