Referring to younger staff variously as “kids” or “the children”, Dame Zaha, cloaked in black and with smudges of fuchsia on both her eyes and lips, says she is approachable.
Those who know her (and prefer not to be named) characterise her as volcanic – she blows up but then it’s over. There are no lasting grudges. Her business partner, architect Patrik Schumacher, says the explosions are the byproduct of “uncompromising standards”, suggesting such bust-ups are normal in creative offices. — ft.com
She pulls the architect responsible to one side. “I don’t care where [the lights go] as long as they’re not in my presence,” she snaps. Dame Zaha’s two assistants stare at the ground. Moments later they fall to the floor to take off her high-heeled Martin Margiela ankle boots so she can walk five yards across the room.
Why does this globally renowned architect – the first female winner of the Pritzker award (considered the Nobel Prize of the field) – pick on her employees? “Some people take the piss and I don’t like that,” she says. “People have to understand my limits. There is a point of no return. Most people who work with me know that line.” You cannot run a business and be “a complete doormat”.