‘It’s not what you’d expect a shop to be’

London has become a great city and I think it’s now the best I’ve ever seen it. If there were a beach, it would be perfect – they have one in Paris, after all. Wherever I am in the world, my perfect day begins with waking up and heading to the beach or the pool or somewhere I can be semi-comatose. I just wake up and go to the sun.

On my perfect day in the capital, I’d love to hold a pool party at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park [which Hadid designed]. I think it would be fun to invite lots of people who have not seen the pool and won’t see it because it’s impossible to get tickets – I don’t even have an invitation to the Olympics! This summer’s going to be lots of fun – lots of parties – and it’s also a chance for people to see how the city has changed.

I love driving around east London – it’s always full of surprises. Actually, I don’t drive myself – I like to be driven. I like the City. I like Southwark, Bermondsey, Borough. Moving from one area to another is like flying out to another country. That’s why the architecture is very important because there are people that can then be inspired by seeing these projects in their own locale.

Normally, I never eat lunch, but on a perfect day I would pick the Wolseley on Piccadilly. It’s a big room, there’s always a nice atmosphere and an unpredictable crowd – such a mixture of people. I think it represents London; everything’s mixed together. It’s the closest thing London has to a grand Parisian café – a great big room with people just coming in from the streets.

In the afternoon, I’d go shopping. I always head to the same shops: Prada on Old Bond Street, Dover Street Market, and Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto on Conduit Street. There’s a great place in Dalston too called LN-CC. It’s a funny place: you have to have an appointment, it’s below ground and it’s like an installation – not what you’d expect a shop to be. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s well worth going.

I don’t go to the theatre too often so I’d then like to see a show. They do great things at the Old Vic in Southwark; Kevin Spacey has done a great job there as artistic director and I enjoyed him in Richard III last year. Opening the tunnels under Waterloo Station as a theatre space has been a great project.

If I don’t have time during the day, I’ll then head to an exhibition in the evening – at the National Portrait Gallery or the National Gallery when they’re open late. I went to the Leonardo da Vinci show at the National Gallery at 10 o’clock at night, and recently to the Damien Hirst show at Tate Modern.

There are so many great galleries and museums in London, but they can be very crowded during the day. I much prefer to see all these pictures at night.

Zaha Hadid’s awards for architecture include, most recently, the Jane Drew prize at the Architect’s Journal Women in Architecture Awards

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