My Zaha Hadid room at the Puerta America Hotel in Madrid. Text & photos by Glenn Belverio

 Welcome to the Mother Ship: The entrance to the Zaha Hadid floor at Puerta America

Dear Shaded Viewers,

While covering Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week I was a guest at the Puerta America Hotel, the Spanish capital's design shrine that opened in 2005. A veritable mecca for architecture and design freaks, each of the 13 floors is designed by a different starchitect, from Marc Newson to Jean Nouvel to Norman Foster. The most buzzed-about floor (and the one with the most expensive rooms, apparently) is the one created by Iraqi designer Zaha Hadid. Because I loved her design of the MAXXI Museum in Rome which I visited in July, and I'm a fan of that sort of "1960's vision of the future" look, I requested a room on Hadid's floor. I knew I was in for an unusual type of luxury experience but I wasn't quite prepared for the challenge the room thrusts at its visitors.


Without a right angle in sight, the room's continuous curves and eerie lighting makes you feel like you're inside a radioactive egg or, more accurately, as if you've been teleported to some chic alien's cave on a planet art-directed by a Stanley Kubrick obsessive. I half expected to find HAL 9000 when I opened the amorphous white slab that acted as a closet door. "I'm going to use the bathroom now, HAL."

"Without your space helmet, Glenn, you're going to find that rather difficult."


Gazing incredulously around the room, I was upset with myself for not packing some vintage Pierre Cardin or Andre Courreges outfits to match my surroundings. But at least I was wearing space-agey silver metallic sneakers! 

Hadid constructed the room with LG HI-MACS