Zaha Hadid Unveiled as Designer of 2017 Brit Awards Statue

Brigitte Lacombe
Zaha Hadid

Internationally revered Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid, who died earlier this year following a heart attack, has been unveiled as the designer of the 2017 Brit Awards Statue -- the iconic trophy given out to prize winners at the U.K. equivalent of the Grammy Awards.

She follows in the footsteps of Pam Hogg, Tracey Emin, Philip Treacy, Damien Hirst, Sir Peter Blake and Vivenne Westwood, who have all contributed bespoke designs of the statue in previous years.

“Zaha was truly excited to be doing this,” comments Maha Kutay, director at Zaha Hadid Design, who led the project alongside Brit Awards’ Niamh Byrne following the sudden death of Hadid in March. Today (Oct. 31) would have been her 66th birthday.

One of the world’s most celebrated and successful architects, Hadid personally accepted the invitation to design the trophy after being approached by Brit Awards’ chairman and Sony Music UK chairman and CEO Jason Iley at the beginning of the year. They met soon after at a party in London to celebrate Hadid – whose most famous works include the London Aquatics Centre, Maxxi museum in Rome and Guangzhou Opera House in China - becoming the first woman to be awarded the prestigious 2016 Royal Gold Medal For Architecture in her own right.

“This was a really big night for her and she was still prepared to talk about The Brit Award and she was really excited about it,” recalls Iley, who praised the Baghdad-born architect’s work for being “innovative, original and [recognizing] diversity in culture.” 

“It has much in common with music,” Iley adds, calling Hadid “the perfect choice for progressing the award into the future.”

So far only teaser sketches of Hadid’s statue design have been published with photographs of the final concept due to be unveiled in the coming months.

“Our design expresses Zaha’s unwavering belief in progress and optimism for the future and a break from the norm.  The biggest challenge was to create something different within certain guidelines, yet achieving a result recognisable to the public. You have to respect the existing to create something new,” says Kutay, who said that the 2017 design will consist of a family of five statues with a particular focus on the 3D element. “The concept represents diversity, the family is connected by a wave of transition, they are different yet connected,” adds Kutay.

The 2017 Brit Awards, the U.K.'s biggest awards show, takes place at London's O2 Arena on February 22 and will be hosted for the first time by Michael Bublé. Nominations are due to be announced on Jan. 14 and for the first time will be broadcast in a primetime slot on commercial TV station ITV.

Last year’s event was watched by a British TV audience of almost 6 million and featured live performances from Adele, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd and Lorde, who memorably paid tribute to David Bowie by performing "Life on Mars," accompanied by Bowie's longstanding backing band.