From The New York Times:
The wild, delirious ride that architecture has been on for the last decade looks as if it’s finally coming to an end. And after a visit to the Chanel Pavilion that opened Monday in Central Park, you may think it hasn’t come soon enough. Designed to display artworks that were inspired by Chanel’s 2.55, a quilted chain-strap handbag, the pavilion certainly oozes glamour. Its mysterious nautiluslike form, which can be easily dismantled and shipped to the next city on its global tour, reflects the keen architectural intelligence we have come to expect from its creator, Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi-born architect who lives in London.
Yet if devoting so much intellectual effort to such a dubious undertaking might have seemed indulgent a year ago, today it looks delusional. It’s not just that New York and much of the rest of the world are preoccupied by economic turmoil and a recession, although the timing could hardly be worse. It’s that the pavilion sets out to drape an aura of refinement over a cynical marketing gimmick. Surveying its self-important exhibits, you can’t help but hope that the era of exploiting the so-called intersection of architecture, art and fashion is finally over.
The pavilion, made of hundreds of molded fiberglass panels mounted on a skeletal steel frame, was first shown in Hong Kong in February. From there it was packed up in 55 sea containers and shipped to Tokyo, closing there in July and heading to New York, where it will be on view through Nov. 9. Chanel is paying a $400,000 fee to rent space in the park and has made a gift of an undisclosed amount to the Central Park Conservancy as part of the deal.
More here. (Note: This is for my nephew Jaffer).