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Remembering Karl Lagerfeld and his Chanel pavilion collab with Zaha Hadid

The stunning futuristic exhibition space traveled the world

Late legends Karl Lagarfeld and Zaha Hadid presenting the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion in Venice, Italy, in June 2007.
Late legends Karl Lagarfeld and Zaha Hadid presenting the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion in Venice, Italy, in June 2007.
Photo: Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Karl Lagerfeld, the prolific fashion designer, died on Tuesday in Paris at the age of 85. As the creative director of Chanel, Fendi, and the founder of his own line, Lagerfeld defined luxury fashion for much of the 20th century and into the 21st.

Though a fashion and style icon through and through, Lagerfeld also had an eye for architecture, famously collaborating with the late Zaha Hadid, whom Lagerfeld once called “the greatest living architect.”

In 2008, the two design powerhouses joined forces to work on the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion, a futuristic, spaceship-like structure that showcased Chanel handbags and traveled through cities like Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York, until it reached its final stop at the Arab World Institute (AWI) in Paris in 2011. (The structure, which Chanel had donated to AWI, has since been dismantled and is in storage.)

“This all began with a small sketch, a computer drawing, a concept,” Lagerfeld told the Independent at the time. “I gave Zaha the general idea in a few moments, and her interpretation and fulfillment of that idea is more than perfect.”

The 7,500-square-foot pavilion was made of 700 components and designed to take organizers less than a week to build. The swooping, sculptural design of white fiberglass-reinforced panels and steel features a series of continuous arch-shaped elements and a central courtyard with openings to the sky.

A translucent ceiling let in artificial light, while a large roof opening at the entrance flooded the space with natural light and a blurred indoor-outdoor quality. Reflective materials allowed for custom light installations in each city, the translucent structure changing from white to purple to red.

Take a closer look at this memorable collaboration below.

The Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion traveled through cities like New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong (shown here).
AP