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Jaime Hayon and the Search for Design Essentials

Madrid-born industrial designer and artist Jaime Hayon established his firm Hayon Studio in 2000. Today, his name sits among the most acclaimed contemporary product designers, working with legacy brands such as Bisazza, Camper, Fritz Hansen, Moooi and Swarovsky. We got a chance to interview the Spanish designer who visited Indonesia to see his work at the opening of the Fritz Hansen showroom in Jakarta.

PHOTOS BY Bagus Tri Laksono and Fritz Hansen doc.

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What led you to become an industrial designer?

I studied Industrial Design in Madrid and Paris before finally pursuing my career as a designer at Fabrica, a design and communication academy in Italy. I worked there from 1997-2003 under celebrated visual content maker and photographer Oliviero Toscani, doing designs for Benneton. I sharpened my visual skills there, so when I started to focus only on my personal projects in 2004, I have already got trained and tasteful eyes that allowed me to make both product designs and artworks.

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Please tell us about your designs for Fritz Hansen.

Fritz Hansen produces sleek Scandinavian designs, which are organic, ergonomic and human-centered. The company ensures that they produce high-quality products with good design. Each of their products is designed to be timeless. To achieve the look, we have to look at what is essential, which is the Scandinavian ways and, which is now embraced by many people all over the world.

I have designed small stuff like a vase and candleholder. In the Ikebana vase, I put brass coming from the glass vase, with holes to put the flowers. So basically, in one vase, there are many holes to put flowers. It is delightful – we put the flowers in-group, but we can focus attention on each stalk, and replace one stem without bothering the rest.

The candleholder is another story. Still with brass, it is designed to exhibit firmness and certainty. The material itself exhibits coldness and pride, contrasting with the soft and warm character of what it holds. Adding this into a room will accentuate the look, because of its strong design, in spite of its small size.

In the Fritz Hansen Jakarta store you can see the Favn sofa right at the entrance. I like this chair very much as it has a rigid structure, yet looks fluid. It has a balance of soft and bold, feminine and masculine, cold and warm, and so on. I’m happy to look at it here, with Alex Bayusaputro’s space interpretation. Fritz Hansen treats design very carefully, and how it fits into will cater our everyday life scene.

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What makes a long established product design?

I learned from many clients, that they keep their traditions while still on exploring new possibilities for mediums and techniques. When working with Baccarat, Choemon in Japan, Bosa Ceramiche and Lladro, I saw how they maintained product work evolution while preserving their craft-making tradition.

Apart from this, I ensure that things I create will be relevant with today’s issue, with the hope that it will be timeless and relevant to future living as well. I make design that is light for everyday life, but also deep and thoughtful. I believe that design should provoke emotions. Design should make you feel good.

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Please tell us about your art.

As a designer, you can’t just stop right there with your trained eyes and hands. Hence I make some artworks. My first exhibition was ‘Mediterranean Digital Baroque’ which was showcased at London’s David Gill Gallery. Then, many exhibitions and installations followed at major galleries and museums worldwide including Aram Gallery and London’s Design Museum in the UK; Vivid Gallery and Groninger Museum in the Netherlands; MAK (Museum of the Applied Arts) in Austria; Gallery Thomas in Germany; Walker art centre in the US and Centre Pompidou in France. Some of the works stay in the permanent collections.

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What’s next?

I embrace new challenges and perspectives of what the universe would offer to me. Starting off just being a teenager with an interest in graffiti, I never thought that I would work with the world’s most iconic brands, having my works inside the world’s famous art venues and even designing a wrist watch, a restaurant, retail shops, a salon, a flagship boutique, restaurant and even a museum information centre. They may sound very random, but I feel very lucky that my designs are very diverse and have created happiness for people.

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