Will.i.am enlists Zaha Hadid in design collaboration for new wrist wearable

Zaha-and-William-wired-Michael-Newington-Gray

Zaha Hadid and Will.i.am on stage at Wired 2014, picture by Michael Newington Gray via Wired.co.uk

Fashion and technology – two unlikely bedfellows that have been gaining increasing column inches of late thanks to the rise of branded wearables. So far, however, the results have been relatively unsuccessful from a style perspective at least.

The problem, says musician and entrepreneur Will.i.am, is that devices are being made and the “fashion” is being sprinkled on top, rather than fashion being made and technology placed inside it.

Speaking at the Wired conference in London today, he said the industry needs to think from the angle of what a fashion house would do. “Let’s not think what a technological company would do, let’s bake technology in, but come from the perspective of a fashion house. What would Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent do? What would Chanel do? What type of product would they put technology in to?”

Accordingly, he released his own ‘smart cuff’ called the Puls at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco earlier this week.

Puls by Zaha Hadid

One of Zaha Hadid’s designs for Will.i.am’s smart cuff, Puls

Created by a 60+ strong team at his company i.am+, this is a standalone connected smartphone on a wristband. It makes phone calls (from its own SIM card), sends emails and SMS, connects to social platforms, streams your music, has in-built GPS and a Siri-like voice-controlled assistant called Aneeda.

Better yet, it also comes with a serious fashion focus thanks to the announcement today of a collaboration with architect and designer Zaha Hadid.

While Will.i.am’s original design is a sleek thick cuff available in a variety of colourways, Hadid brings what looks like five more intricate styles to the table, each of them almost masking the original curved shape beneath.

See the full story and more pics of the designs via Forbes.com