Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Time to revive that hackneyed quip about driving/rolling/skating down the famed spiral ramp of the Guggenheim. One star attraction of the forthcoming survey of the architecture and design of "Zaha Hadid," June 3-Oct. 25, 2006, is a full-size scale model of the ostreperous architect’s own Z.Car, a three-wheeled "bespoke" auto designed at the behest of London dealer Kenny Schachter. Powered by an electric fuel cell, the rear-engine vehicle is "shaped like a water drop" for minimum wind resistance -- reducing the number of wheels also reduces friction -- and has a large asymmetric front hatch that gives a panoramic forward view. Smaller than a VW Golf but larger that a Smartcar, the Z.Car runs in two positions -- low like a sports car for highway driving and raised 10 degrees for increased visibility for use in the city. Instead of a rear window, the car displays the view out back via a video screen in the cab.
To accompany the Z.Car, Schachter is putting out a deluxe publication that he calls a cross between a book and a magazine; with luck it is the first of a series, with Vito Acconci designing issue number two. Dubbed Rove (like the gallery), the book-magazine is priced at $15, with a deluxe limited-edition version including a slipcase designed by Hadid costing around $1,000. The editorial matter, which includes a survey of Hadid’s architecture as well as a history of three-wheeled vehicles, asks, as an art dealer might, "If works of art can sell one at a time, why not cars?"

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