Portrait of Zaha Hadid by Virgile Simon Bertrand

Dezeen's top 10 architecture and design quotes of 2016

Dezeen managing editor Olivia Mull picks the quotes that sum up the year in architecture and design, covering untimely deaths, Patrik Schumacher's calls to scrap social housing, and Kanye West's foray into flat-pack furniture.

Heydar Aliyev Center by Zaha Hadid Architects

"Architecture is not a medium of personal expression for me" – Zaha Hadid

In February, just a month before her unexpected death, Zaha Hadid became the first woman to receive the Royal Gold Medal for architecture in her own right.

The Iraqi-born British architect used her Royal Gold medal speech to reject claims that her architecture is self-indulgent and wilful, and voice the fact she felt "widely misunderstood" by the mainstream. Hadid said that projects like her Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku were driven by an ambition for architectural progress, rather than personal indulgences.

Read the full story ›


"Zaha Hadid was a combination of beauty and strength" – Rem Koolhaas

After the news of Hadid's sad passing broke in March, tributes poured in from architects around the world. In an exclusive interview, Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas told Dezeen about his longstanding friendship with Zaha Hadid, describing her as "basically family" to him.

The OMA founder also hit out at Western architecture press for acting as a self-appointed Amnesty International towards her projects in Eastern countries, reiterating comments Hadid had made previously herself.

Read the full interview ›


"Plastic is a design failure" – Cyrill Gutsch

Adidas and Parley for the Oceans launched a pair of trainers made from ocean plastic in 2016, becoming the latest brands to experiment with the waste material.

In an interview with Dezeen, Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch stressed the need for all designers and brands need to wean themselves off the plastic "drug".

Read the full interview ›

Jonthan Ive

"Fewer designers seem to be interested in how something is actually made" – Jonathan Ive

Last year, Apple chief design officer Jonathan Ive made news for railing against design education. This year, it was his criticism of designer's disinterest in the handmade that made headlines.

Ive – the designer credited with creating many of Apple's most popular electronics – stressed that creating things by hand is vital to gaining an understanding of the nature and potential of materials.

Read the full story ›

Patrik Schumacher at World Architecture Festival

"Abolish all forms of social and affordable housing" – Patrik Schumacher

At the World Architecture Festival in November, Zaha Hadid Architects director Patrik Schumacher mapped out a solution to London's housing crisis that involved getting rid of regulations, privatising all public space and scrapping social housing.

Our story about the architect's eight-point plan quickly became the most commented story of the year, as well as triggering several Opinion pieces, and an opposing statement from Zaha Hadid's family and friends.

Read more about the Patrik Schumacher controversy ›

Jonathan Barnbrook on David Bowie cover art

"David Bowie was facing his own mortality with Blackstar" – Jonathan Barnbrook

David Bowie died just two days after his Blackstar album was released on 8 January 2016 – his 69th birthday. Following the news, Dezeen spoke to his longtime graphic-design collaborator and friend Jonathan Barnbrook.

Barnbrook explained how the album, which is represented by a ★ symbol, was designed to reflect the musician's mortality. He described it as having a "a finality, a darkness, a simplicity".

Read the full interview ›

Prince's "love symbol" by Mitch Monson

"Prince was the Nike swoosh before Nike was" – Mitch Monson

Just a few months after Bowie's death, Dezeen interviewed Prince's logo designer Mitch Monson under the same circumstances.

Graphic designer Monson spoke to Dezeen about creating the unpronounceable symbol that Prince used for seven years instead of a name, and how it transformed him into an "icon in the industry".

Read the full interview ›

Peter Cook says British architecture has become dull at 2016 RIBA awards ceremony

"We're in a conservative period of British architecture" – Peter Cook

Legendary architect Peter Cook made news for attacking the state of architecture in the UK for the second year in a row.

Cook – who founded the avant-garde architecture group Archigram in the 1960s – pointed to the lack of experimentation and a culture of narrow-mindedness in schools as the cause, claiming that agenda is often placed above creativity.

Read the full story ›


"Rotterdam is the city of the future"– Duzan Doepel

Landmark buildings and experimental construction are transforming Dutch city Rotterdam into a world-class destination for design innovation, according to architects based in the city.

Doepel Strijkers co-founder Duzan Doepel said the developments were turning Amsterdam into "the city of the past", while OMA director Reinier de Graaf described Rotterdam as "a centre for architecture".

Find out more about Rotterdam's architectural revolution ›


"Yo IKEA, allow Kanye to create" – Kanye West

Earlier this year, self-proclaimed genius and polymath Kanye West declared his ambitions to design for IKEA and called for the Swedish company to collaborate with him on a furniture range.

The rapper also revealed his frustration that he is not taken seriously as a "real designer".

Read the full story ›