Zaha Hadid retrospective at Venice Biennale features stunning 3D printed chair Jun 1, 2016 | By Tess


The late Zaha Hadid has been recognized as perhaps one of the greatest female architects of our time, if not one of the greatest architects of our time in general. The Iraqi architect’s work broke down barriers within the architectural design as she consistently created fluid, and fragmentary geometric designs. While Hadid, who passed away on March 31st, 2016, was known best for her innovative building designs, the world renowned architect also created a number of stunning pieces of furniture and even dabbled with 3D printing technologies.


Art. My East is Your West. Artists from India and Pakistan at Venice Biennale 2015

Art. My East is Your West. Artists from India and Pakistan at Venice Biennale 2015

Art. The Gujral Foundation presents My East is Your West. Artists from India and Pakistan collaborate for Venice Biennale 2015. 5 May – 31 October 2015.

Official Collateral Event of the 56th International Art Exhibition – Venice Biennale 2015. Shilpa Gupta (India) and Rashid Rana (Pakistan).

New Delhi, 21 January 2015: The Gujral Foundation is delighted to announce My East is Your West, an official collateral event of the 56th International Art Exhibition – Venice Biennale, which unites for the first time at the Biennale the historically conflicting nations of India and Pakistan in a collaborative exhibition by artists from both countries.

Internationally recognised artists Shilpa Gupta (India) and Rashid Rana (Pakistan) will work together on a shared presentation located in the Palazzo Benzon, in the centre of Venice on the Grand Canal. As neither India nor Pakistan have a permanent national pavilion at the Venice Biennale, this presentation will provide a unique platform for artists from the Indian subcontinent to enter into a dialogue through the arts. My East is Your West is conceived by Feroze Gujral, Director and Founder of The Gujral Foundation, with Natasha Ginwala as Curatorial Advisor and Curator of Public Programming. The Gujral Foundation have partnered with the Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta on the project with Head Curator, Martina Mazzotta, programming collateral events in Italy.

The Gujral Foundation will be presenting a discussion about their project for the 56th Venice Biennale ‘My East is Your West’ at the YES Bank Spotlight Series at the upcoming 7th edition of India Art Fair 2015 on 30 January 2015 at 3.30pm. The speakers for this session are Feroze Gujral (Founder & Director, The Gujral Foundation), Shilpa Gupta (Artist, India), Rashid Rana (Artist, Pakistan) and Natasha Ginwala (Curatorial Advisor and Curator of Public Programming).

Born out of the desire to reposition the complex climate of historical relations between the South Asian nation-states of India and Pakistan, My East is Your West will present these two countries as a singular region within the context of the Venice Biennale. The thought of how the world would have been different had India and Pakistan not been measured by borders lies dormant but is ever present. In view of their practices, and as one artist from each country, Gupta and Rana have been invited to work together to create a unique presentation that will express the integral essence of a people divided, a history which spans antiquity, colonial modernity and a cosmopolitan present entangled in conflict.

This journey towards conceiving a shared platform in Venice builds on the artists’ concerns to negotiate between the individual and the communal in relation to the ‘everyday’ experiences of collective consciousness. Within their practices both artists explore notions of location and dislocation, transnational belonging, and the impact of cultural and political conditioning in determining our relationship to geographical and national territories. With works that challenge the modern nation-state and its divides, Gupta and Rana have developed a material aesthetic that surveys the potential of a common region, separate from the state and its model.

Feroze Gujral (Founder & Director, The Gujral Foundation) comments:

“Whilst we share a common history, we have a divided present. We are now working together for a more collaborative future.”

Intellectually gifted fashion maestro Hussein Chalayan transforms his creations Intellectually gifted fashion maestro Hussein Chalayan creates collections based on the theme of transformation, writes Vivian Chen


It would be a crime to pigeonhole Hussein Chalayan. Best known for fashion design, the two-time British Designer of the Year has also had his works displayed at prestigious art museums, and his avant-garde catwalks are often dubbed performing art shows in their own league.

The boundary-breaking creative mastermind has made forays into various creative aspects, from art to architecture to film and theatre. Known as one of the industry’s most intellectual designers, Chalayan has debuted short films at the Venice Biennale, and his retrospective exhibitions have been staged at museums across the globe.

After earning a fashion design degree from London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (close to the time when the other two celebrated British designers, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, graduated), Chalayan started his own label in 1993 and has since come a long way.

His graduation collection, titled “The Tangent Flows”, which featured oxidised silk dresses buried underneath a friend’s garden for months, was such a hit that influential buyer store Browns bought the entire collection.

Following the hit debut, Chalayan’s intellectual approach to fashion continues to inspire. His experimental showpieces include the famous “coffee table dress” – a mahogany coffee table that morphs into a geometrical skirt – and the futuristic “womb” Lady Gaga broke out from at the Grammys in 2011. This theme of transformation has been revisited by the designer. His autumn/winter 2000 collection featured garments that doubled as sofa covers. Instead of trotting down the runway, Chalayan’s models interacted with furniture on stage.

His 2007 spring/summer series took transformation to another level. The entire collection conceptualised around the theme sent models trotting off the runway in outfits featuring built-in mechanisms which transformed floor-length Victorian gowns into 1920s flappers.

It’s not just showmanship that won Chalayan accolades as one of the world’s best fashion maestros, but his ability to combine spectacular optical effects and commerce in fashion. “The [showpieces] do have a role but, more importantly, they turn into wearable clothes which actually took the most time to construct,” he says.

Last year was an especially productive one for Chalayan. Alongside his own eponymous label, he took on a lot of responsibility, including designing French fashion house Vionnet’s demi-couture collection, relaunching Chalayan menswear after an eight-year break, and collaborating with famous architect Zaha Hadid to design costumes for the opera Cosi Fan Tutte which opened in May in Los Angeles. The production has made possible other high-profile creative collaborations such as Frank Gehry with Rodarte and Jean Nouvel with Azzedine Alaia.

Hussein Chalayan is a man of many talents. Apart from fashion, he has also dabbled in art and theatre.

The disciplines may vary, yet the core of Chalayan’s design philosophy remains the same. “They are part of the same world,” he says. “Other projects help me discover new ideas that end up [inspiring] new collections.”

While Chalayan could be the most experimental designer you come across, he’s known to be true to his legacy and in this case, for the revival of Chalayan menswear and maison Vionnet. “I wanted to re-introduce Chalayan menswear as we had been getting a lot of requests,” the designer says. “The new collection is very much an extension of the house silhouettes from the past Chalayan menswear – part structured, part relaxed. [The collection] appeals to a classic but also an experimental individual.”

The result is a much-anticipated men’s capsule collection consisting of 22 styles, some of which Chalayan showed alongside his spring/summer 2015 women’s collection. Both collections are built upon Moorish inspirations. In the men’s collection, tailored silhouettes dipped in a kaleidoscope of light green prints inspired by Moorish weaves and jacquard patterns make versatile wardrobe staples.

Similar aesthetics and tastes are evident in Vionnet’s demi-couture series that Chalayan has taken under his wings for the past year. He has done two collections since.

The silhouettes and constructions of his latest collection for Vionnet bear Chalayan’s signature touch, yet are executed with Vionnet’s classism and elegance in mind – think knee-length tube dresses with extended hem lines tied into a knot on the side and two-tone gowns featuring colour-contrasting pleated organza appliqué. “It’s an honorary project in light of the House of Vionnet’s spirit and imagining what [its founder] Madeleine Vionnet would have liked if she were still alive today,” Chalayan says.

Two pieces from Hussein Chalayan’s relaunched menswear. The collection comes from Moorish inspirations and is part structured, part relaxed.

Chalayan is no stranger to collaborations. Prior to the Vionnet project, he has worked extensively with other creative units. He has worked as creative director of international labels including Asprey, TSE New York and Puma. His stellar list of creative intellectual collaborators include actors, artists, musicians, theatre performers such as Academy Award-winning Tilda Swinton, dancer-choreographer Michael Clark and artist Nick Knight. Chalayan says the criterion he looks for in collaborators is that they share the spirit of doing something new.

His recent collaboration with famous architect Hadid is on couture level, according to Chalayan. Designing costumes for performers is a couture project, he says. Although Hadid has been a long-time friend, Chalayan says the synergy of them working together was refreshing. “It’s like many blind dates that culminate in something very exciting at the end,” he says. “We both experiment and we are both interested in form and movement.”

Chalayan says he continues to be inspired by modern women and wants to design empowering fashion for them. “I believe in carefully considered designs executed precisely with a delicate sense of construction and finish,” he says.” The woman I like dresses for the occasion and can be masculine one day and extremely feminine the next. She is a warm, curious individual.”

Warm and curious, just what we could say about Chalayan. But then again, he has so many star qualities.

A transformable dress from Hussein Chalayan’s previous collections



Graduates from London’s Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design

1999 and 2000

Wins British Designer of the Year award


Moves London show to Paris


Directs short film titled Absent Presence,shown at the Venice Biennale


Gets an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List


Becomes creative director of Puma


Stages two exhibitions to show retrospectives of his work


Launches his first fragrance Airborne


Signs licensing agreement with Venetian-based manufacturer Pier S.p.A for the production and distribution of his womenswear


Relaunches Chalayan menswear