Hadid will never escape the association with architecture in any mention of her design work. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and maybe she would have appreciated that. Still, some over her sets deserve the comparison more than others. Indeed, her Seoul Tea Service for NY Projects (2009) looks unmistakably like a design for one of her stadiums. Note the gentle swoop of the ceramic and carbon fiber cover. From NY Project:
In addition to being a unique piece of avant-garde design, the Tea Service references ancient traditions of the Korean lifestyle within the Seoul Collection.
Zaha Hadid Architects captured the true essence of the traditional Korean tea service within the fluid forms, and surfaces consisting of a carbon fiber outer shell and delicate ceramic interior. The horizontal proportions of the pot and its low centre of gravity as well as the cups are Asian in form and spirit.
As noted by Zaha Hadid, the Tea Set is an example that shows the concept of integrated flowing forms, in which there is a relationship between the internal cups and the external encasement. The pot and cups are ergonomically shaped in relation to the hand and body, with careful consideration given to the way liquid is contained and released from the vessels.
Beyond the aesthetics and the way the individual pieces nest so cleanly inside the tray, the set just looks like fun to use. The glasses look as though they could easily fit in the hand but could still stand up to a gentle squeeze or two as one appreciates the ridges. The teapot looks like it would cut through the air above the table as it moves from cup to cup. A very satisfying set indeed.
Bill Rodgers is the Managing Editor of cfile.daily.
Do you love or loathe this use of contemporary ceramics? Let us know in the comments.