What a loss…Zaha Hadid, the greatest woman architect of our time, died yesterday. Crazy to read the news while I was walking nearby the Glasgow Museum of Transport she designed.
Zaha Hadid hasn’t designed that many buildings or infrastructures in London. Her most known London’s architecture project is the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park but besides that she only designed the Evelyn Grace Academy, an educational building in Brixton, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Hyde Park and my recent discovery: the Roca Gallery, a showroom for the Spanish bathroom brand Roca.
As every Zaha Hadid’s project this is nothing ordinary and so much more than just a product display space. First of all there isn’t any wall enclosing any space but the whole interior is a flow, a continuous stream with semi-opened zones in which Roca’s bathroom products are shown.
The concept is brilliant and perfectly in line with Zaha’s biomorphic language of design: she reproduced the erosive effect of moving water that carves out the interior and keeps flowing really dynamically through the whole gallery. So that the semi-enclosed spaces look like water-sculpted caves with the water movement still visible on the ceiling and floor through an enthralling lines pattern.
To me it’s like seeing the artificial version of a cave after the tide has subsided, in which the water flow imprinted on the sand is replaced in an abstract way by curvy lines carved on the floor and the daily erosive process is well reproduced by the use of dull grey gypsum vertical surfaces.
Roca Gallery boasts an impressive open space and the walking experience has a sensational and sensorial impact (at least on me) and every element around you recalls of water flowing. Everything has been designed with the purpose of giving this sensation from the floor tiles pattern to the elongated drops-like pods used as lighting elements, shelves, seats and tables with their polished and smooth surface, plus the light installations enhance the seamlessly black and white stream movement.
The only thing that let me uncertain is that this showroom is so overwhelming that the products that should be the protagonists unavoidably fade into insignificance. So I wonder if Roca actually benefits from displaying its products in a place that, as usual, Zaha Hadid designed ina way that it has a huge visual impact, like Roca Gallery has.
By the way, hope that everyone who lives in London has been here, if not I suggest you to go for a Saturday stroll and, never know, you may come back home with a new bathtub. I personally love this one below, I want exactly the same, with the heart-shaped window effect included but with the ocean view please!
If you want to experience (it’s the right word) this flagship showroom and check Roca’s bathroom products:
London SW6 2PY
Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 5:30pm.
Saturdays from 11am to 5pm.
All photos and words by Nancy Da Campo