Crest Installation at the Victoria & Albert Museum for London Design Festival

Crest is an experimental sculpture that tests new design and construction technologies applied to a material of minimal thickness; investigating the relationship between formal arrangement and structural performance.

Designed as a temporary installation which will remain at the V&A during the London Design Festival, Crest is then planned to be installed at the ME Hotel, Dubai; establishing an intriguing dialogue with the formal dichotomy inherent within the hotel’s design.

Crest tests the limits and possibilities for a new construction technique involving panels of pre-stressed, eight-millimetre-thick aluminum assembled in two layers as a flat sheet and then bent in-situ into the curved form that is held in tension to be self-supporting. Zaha Hadid said of the installation, ‘Crest explores the relationship between surface and structure, transforming the planar water surface of the V&A’s courtyard pool into a curvilinear form, creating a compelling interplay with light and reflection.’ Melodie Leung, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects says, ‘It’s a process that we’ve never done before, an experiment about achieving a precise form as thin as possible. This is the thinnest shell structure we have built to date’

Tony Cortizas, Vice President of brands for ME, said, ‘What Hadid has done is experimental and pushes the boundaries of her key design signature. This comes at a significant time for the brand, firstly with a slow move east to Dubai – which is set to become one of the most visited cities in the world within the next 20 years. Crest signifies a connection between east and west but the most exciting part of the story today is the design aspect which is a key defining part of our brand.’

Max Fraser, London Design Festival Deputy Director said, ‘Every year during the London Design Festival we work with the V&A on a series of ambitious installations. Zaha’s solution was to do something very sculptural incredibly thin and light in its construction that spans the pool and create the illusion of ‘how was that engineered?’’

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