When Karl Met Zaha: Chanel Art Pod Debuts Next Week

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Plans for Zaha Hadid‘s London building for The Architecture Foundation have been scrapped, but another one of her projects is just days away from completion. The glossy, white fiber-reinforced plastic and steel pod took a little longer than planned to fabricate, but all systems are now go for Chanel‘s Mobile Art project, a traveling contemporary art gallery that kicks off its two-year world tour next Wednesday at Hong Kong’s Star Ferry Car Park. The Hadid-designed pod arrives stateside this fall, when it will touch down in New York.

“For this pavilion, we explored the organic forms evident in spiraling sea-shells,” Hadid told us in an e-mail. The 7,500-square-foot structure is “a parametric distortion of a torus, which in its pure geometric shape is the basic diagram of an exhibition space,” she added. “The distortion creates a constant variety of interior exhibition spaces.” Filling those spaces will be artworks inspired by the iconic quilted handbag created by Coco Chanel in 1955. Curated by Beaux Arts editor-in-chief Fabrice Bousteau, the exhibition includes works by 20 artists, including Sophie Calle, Nobuyoshi Araki, Stephen Shore, Yoko Ono, and Lee Bul.

As for how Hadid got involved with this project in the first place, she told us that it’s all thanks to her chance meeting with Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld in the lobby of New York’s Mercer Hotel. “As [Karl] said, this shows how important public spaces like hotel lobbies can be!”