x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Zaha Hadid Aqua table

Object of desire It's not the rarity of the table that attracts me. It is its mesmerisingly odd, organic form: the undulating, asymmetrical top; those sinuously curving, fin-like legs.

It seems almost liquid as the light catches its contours.
It seems almost liquid as the light catches its contours.

Obviously, even if my house was big enough to accommodate it, I couldn't own one of Zaha Hadid's stunningly seminal works: the Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck or the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, for instance. Or her Performing Arts Centre, to be built on Saadiyat Island. So this dining table - this extraordinary, strange and beautiful table - designed by her in 2005 for the British manufacturing company, Established & Sons, is one of the few ways of owning a work by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect.

Few being the operative word: it is a limited edition of only 39 pieces. So coveted is it that one example was sold at auction by Phillips de Pury in 2005 for US$250,000 - way over its list price. But it's not the rarity or the value of the table that attracts me; it is its mesmerisingly odd, organic form: the undulating, asymmetrical top - almost four metres long - that seems to float above its sinuously curving, fin-like legs.

Made of the glossiest possible black polyurethane, it seems almost liquid as the light catches its contours. In this, the table perfectly encapsulates Hadid's almost Impressionistic approach to her architecture, which shatters all of the normal rules of space and form. More than simply odd, though, the table has immense presence; there's something of Darth Vader about its mystery and power. Yet, unlike Vader, it invites you to come close, pull up a chair, even stretch your arms across its surface.

So that's what I do, going to visit the example that sits in Traffic Design Gallery in Dubai as often as I can. Gazing at it from all different angles (and every time, it seems, seeing something different about it). Sometimes stroking it. And secretly hoping that nobody buys it, so I can keep enjoying it.
slane@thenational.ae