The 2016 opening of Zaha Hadid’s ME Dubai Hotel is still a ways a way. In the meantime, the Victoria and Albert Museum offers a little sneak preview in the form of the Crest Pavilion, a Hadid-designed sculpture for the duration of this week's London Design Festival.
Expressing what Hadid describes as “the formal dichotomy inherent within the hotel’s design,” Crest (as in the peak of a wave) is a slim expanse of aluminum arched over the V&A John Madejski Garden pond, contrasting the glass-like surface of the water with its fluid curve. It demonstrates certain thematic elements Hadid’s firm would like to stress in the forthcoming hotel’s design — opposing forces like “fluid and cartesian” and “solid and void” — but more tangibly, a still-experimental construction method. Crest consists solely of two layers of pre-stressed, 8-mm-thick aluminum panels sculpted on-site to a self-supporting structure, held in place solely by its own surface tension.
“It’s a process that we’ve never done before, an experiment about achieving a precise form as thin as possible,” according to Zaha Hadid Architects associate Melodie. “This is the thinnest shell structure we have built to date.”
Destined to be demounted and eventually shipped off to Dubai, Crest is on view through the end of the London Design Festival on September 21.
Image copyright Ed Reeve
Image copyright Luke Hayes