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Zaha Hadid: The Heydar Aliyev Center (photo by Iwan Baan)

Work / Architecture

Zaha Hadid’s cultural centre in Azerbajan wins Designs of the Year gong

In recent years the 2012 Olympic Torch, the UK government website and the Plumen lightbulb have scooped the Design Museum’s prestigious Designs of the Year title; last night Zaha Hadid’s Azerbajani cultural centre joined the illustrious list.

The Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku beat off competition from the other category winners including a reimagined piano and a portable eye examination kit to claim its crown as the single best design completed in the last year.

The architect says the building “breaks from the rigid and often monumental Soviet architecture that is so prevalent in Baku, aspiring instead to express the sensibilities of Azeri culture and the optimism of a nation that looks to the future” while one of the judges Piers Gough praised: “An intoxicatingly beautiful building by the most brilliant architect at the height of her office’s powers.”

He went on: “It’s swooning fluid on the outside and inside, belieing its size and complexity. The thousand and one geometrical junctions are consummately mastered and segue seamlessly into each other. Sitting atop a swooping zigzag landscape that would be a winner even without the building. It is as pure and sexy as Marilyn’s blown skirt.

“Without an ounce of awkward argumentative modernism in its bones. It rather reads like a sweet love letter to Zaha’s homelands.”

This year visitors to the Designs of the Year exhibition were also invited to vote for their favourite and young Dutch designer Dave Hakkens’ amazing modular mobile phone Phone Bloks (below) came out as a well deserved winner..

Designs of the Year runs until 25 August at The Design Museum.

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Zaha Hadid: The Heydar Aliyev Center (photo by Iwan Baan)

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Zaha Hadid: The Heydar Aliyev Center (photo by Hutton Crow)

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Zaha Hadid: The Heydar Aliyev Center (photo by Hutton Crow)

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Zaha Hadid: The Heydar Aliyev Center (photo by Helene Binet)

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Zaha Hadid: The Heydar Aliyev Center (photo by Helene Binet)

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Zaha Hadid: The Heydar Aliyev Center (photo by Helene Binet)