As the designer behind local arty label Stolen, Wong, 40, might be better associated with the fashion scene, but she says that architecture serves as her inspiration. Take for instance, Zaha Hadid’s Vitra Fire Station. Wong was amazed at how the architect was able to use a utilitarian material such as concrete to create a maximalist impact. She’s adopted a similar philosophy for Stolen, which typically eschews prints and bright colours in favour of experimenting with structure and silhouette. The line made its Singapore Fashion Week debut last October at the National Gallery, where it made quite a splash: Instead of the typical flashy fare, Wong opted for a quiet yet memorable presentation that mixed fashion with performance art.
Favourite Hadid work: “The Heydar Aliyev Center is an absolute work of art – how it seamlessly blurred the boundaries between architecture and nature is breathtaking.”
A Hadid ethic she admires: “Her open-mindedness and appetite for change is remarkable. Yet her influence and inspiration essentially come from a deep understanding of the culture and environment around the building projects that she undertakes. That, I feel, represents a very brave yet responsible creator.”
Transplanted from Paris two years ago, Bataillard, 33, heads the architecture department at the award-winning French multidisciplinary firm WY-TO, known for its sustainability-oriented designs. In a similar vein, it is Hadid’s philosophy of creating harmonious relationships between spaces that resonates most with Bataillard, and it’s something that she tries to exemplify in her own projects, such as in the layout she designed for the UOB Southeast Asia Gallery at the National Gallery.
Favourite Hadid work: “The first building designed by Hadid that I visited is the Ordrupgaard Museum Extension in Copenhagen – the project has a seamless continuity between the old and the new. What is fascinating is that despite the bold contemporary architecture, the extension allows you to focus peacefully on the artefacts and the beautiful surrounding garden.”
A Hadid ethic she admires: “While the Pritzker is an important recognition, I do agree with her that ‘she’s an architect, not just a woman architect’. From my experience, I never envision my work and career from a woman’s perspective. It is knowledge, hard work, confidence and values in your work that matter. This can resonate in any designer and architect, male or female.”
When the “All the Best: The Deutsche Bank Collection and Zaha Hadid” exhibition was held in Singapore in 2006, Chua, an undergraduate then, promptly paid a visit – not for the extensive artworks, but to take in Hadid’s installation set-up for the exhibition. An industrial designer by trade, Chua, 33, has become a star in her own right: Outofstock, the design collective that she co-founded with three others, was chosen to represent Singapore at high-end design fair Maison&Objet’s Rising Asian Talents Award 2015 – which they won. Two years ago, she established a new design studio, Forest & whale, which focuses on designs that explore the relationship between people and the environment.
Favourite Hadid work: “I visited the (Vitra) Fire Station in Weil am Rhein during my student years – I didn’t know at that time that it was Hadid’s first built project. That was an earlier work before she transitioned into a fluidity of form with the aid of technology. The shards of concrete planes that pierced the sky created an atmosphere that remains imprinted in my memory – in some ways, it (the Fire Station) most resembles Hadid’s futuristic paintings.”
A Hadid ethic she admires: “What is really inspiring about Zaha Hadid’s design process is that she’s very comfortable with not putting down exactly how things will come together. In some ways, I see that being applied in my design projects as well – how you sometimes have to resist the urge to define everything before sending it to be made at the manufacturers. You’re more able to find an original idea if you do not define it from the beginning.”
Photography Vee Chin Styling Imran Jalal Hair Manisa Tan/Paletteinc, using La Biosthetique Makeup Huimin Ng/Paletteinc, using Kose All Jewellery B.Zero1 Design Legend Clothes Women’s Own
Zaha Hadid Portrait Brigitte Lacombe Architecture Photos Hufton+Crow, Helene Binet, & Christian Richters
This story first appeared in Female’s April 2017 issue.