Jewelry Inspired by Architect Zaha Hadid | By ShulliDesign

One of my greatest design idols is British-Iraqi Architect, Zaha Hadid. As a material lover, Like Hadid, I try to test the limits of what my principle material, leather, can do in my modern jewelry designs. Zaha Hadid creates soft flowing shapes from hard materials such as metal, stone, cement, and glass, making the impossible possible. Known as an architect who consistently pushes the boundaries of architecture and urban design, her work experiments with new spatial concepts intensifying existing urban landscapes and encompassing all fields of design, from the urban scale to interiors and furniture. Throughout her professional practice, Hadid continued to paint, using abstraction as a tool to develop new designs. She explained, "I found the traditional system of architectural drawing to be limiting and was searching for a new means of representation." Through abstraction, she challenged the conception of a building as a solid mass and adventurously explored the spatial relationships between building elements. Her recent design, the Al Janoub stadium, Located in Qatar near the former fishing town of Wakrah, reflects the sails of the wooden dhow boats, which dotted Qatar’s waters. They were used in the pearl industry, traditionally responsible for much of the country’s past economy. In my eyes, her new Al Janoub stadium resembles a soft ruffled white dress enveloping the symbol of masculinity, a soccer stadium! I wonder what the sheiks of Qatar who ordered Al Janoub stadium for the 2022 FIFA world cup would think of my metaphor…

The multi-faceted construction was my inspiration for the contemporary earrings I design. I cut and twisted leather, then played around with it until new shapes were born, complementing the spaces around the face. The gold and silver mirror-like leathers mimic precious metals used in jewelry traditionally. Even though the earrings are big and bold, you will be surprised at how light and comfortable such extra-large earrings can be when they are made entirely from leather. Needless to say, they all have a matching necklace earring set.

In my former profession as a footwear designer, I used to design shoes and soles inspired by Zaha Hadid's architechtural structures and flowing shapes. During her university years, she studied mathematics before she took onto art and architecture. Her familiarity with math and engineering explains her fearlessness to incorporate new technologies that can assist with the complex shapes she designs. Her modern approach to architecture encompasses biomimicry, using forms from nature morphed with an abstract and sometimes deconstructive approach.

This is how her partner, Patrik Schumacher, described their approach: "We strongly believe in a collective, multidisciplinary approach to architecture. New digital design tools, robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and big data are all impacting architecture and enabling the industry to develop solutions to complex issues. We are working with new concepts, logic and methods that examine and organize the complexities of our contemporary living patterns, creating buildings that engage, integrate and adapt with the needs of their users. Huge advances in design technology are enabling architects to rethink form and space, using innovative new construction methods and materials. Computational parametric design and digital fabrication are evolving technologies that are changing how we design and construct with an architecture that is intriguingly reminiscent of natural forms but completely modern in expression." 

I was assigned to design a sporty women's collection for Naot comfort footwear. The ergonomic shapes in the "One thousand Museum" Zaha Hadid designed in Miami, reminded me of human leg muscles. This made a lot of inspirational logic to use on a comfort shoe design.

With my ShulliDesign contemporary jewelry collection, I frequently look at modern architecture as a source of inspiration. The large-scale structures use many repetitive shapes, together creating an illusion of movement in their surrounding space. This makes a lot of sense for me in my approach to modern jewellery design, only in small scale and with respect to the human body as my canvas.