An asymmetric aluminium sheet arches over one end of the oval-shaped landscape feature. Shallow steps curve around the water's edge and fountains spurt up on either side.
The museum's 19th century red brick building is mirrored on the surface, while the colours in turn are reflected on the underside of the bridge-like structure.
"Every year during the London Design Festival we work with the V&A on a series of ambitious installations," the festival's deputy director Max Fraser told Dezeen. "Zaha's solution was to do something very sculptural incredibly thin and light in its construction that spans the pool and create the illusion of 'how was that engineered?'"
The pieces of prestressed eight-millimetre-thick aluminium were assembled in two layers as a flat sheet and bent into shape in situ, held in tension to be self supporting.
"It's a type of process that we've never done before, it was an experiment," said Zaha Hadid Architects' Melodie Leung. "It was about achieving a presice form as thin as possible. It's the thinnest shell structure we've done to date."
"Crest animates and engages with the V&A's courtyard and we're looking forward to seeing the installation inhabited and enjoyed by visitors," said Hadid when the design was unveiled.
Members of the public are not allowed to walk over the aluminium sculpture or paddle in the pool.
The temporary piece will remain in place for the duration of the festival – which runs from 13 to 21 September – then will be relocated to the grounds of the ME Hotel designed by Hadid for Dubai, due to open in 2016.
"What Hadid has done is experimental and pushes the boundaries of a construction technique, as well as epitomising some of her key design signatures," said ME’s vice president of brands Tony Cortizas, who commissioned the installation.
Photography is by Luke Hayes and Ed Reeve.
Commissioned by ME by Meliá
Design by Zaha Hadid Architects