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Jaime Hayon

Spanish artist-designer pushes the boundaries in striking form

by Graham Hiemstra in Design on 09 June 2011

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Finding inspiration through observation, award-winning Spanish creative Jaime Hayon survives on a steady stream of design collaborations and consultancy gigs, all the while pushing the boundaries between art and design.

Native to Madrid, Hayon spent his University years studying industrial design in both his hometown and Paris. Although Hayon excelled in his studies, he never felt too connected to the traditional and logical design curriculum. Rather than subscribing to a specific category, Hayon felt compelled to lend his designs a unique touch and take risks.

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Hayon explains, "At a certain moment I was absolutely not interested in [traditional design], so I went through a different road. I was more interested in underground art, it opened my mind to see things differently." This urge to create holds deep roots in his adolescence spent in Madrid where he immersed himself in skateboard and graffiti cultures, expanding the already whimsical imagination that is ever-present in his work today.

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In 1997, after finishing his studies Hayon took his bold creativity to Fabrica, a communication research centre/talent incubator/studio. Here he quickly established himself and after just one year he found himself head of the design department, overseeing projects varying from retail and restaurant design and exhibition conception to product and graphic design. Eight years later Hayon felt the urge once again find a new outlet for his creativity, this time branching out and developing his own collection of designer toys, ceramics, furniture, and eventually interior design and installation along with founding Hayon Studio. His quirky creations were then exhibited in galleries throughout London, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Paris and Kuala Lumpur, establishing himself as a major player in the new wave of creators transcending the line between art and design.

Gaining further exposure through solo exhibitions at London's Aram Gallery and Milan's Salone de Mobile, Hayon emerged as a mind to be sought after, eventually leading to positions in consultancy and design for a diverse list of clients designing furniture, lighting, textiles, vases, and ceramic objects. Included in this list is Spanish porcelain manufacturer Lladró, where for five years Hayon has held an ongoing position as Artistic Advisor. Thanks to his influence and encouragement Lladró has taken their company in a whole new direction, encouraging fellow designers to create new objects inspired by the Lladró's traditional pieces.

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Impressed with his clean design and adventurous mind Hayon was brought on as premiere designer for Bisazza Bagno's debut collection of bathroom fixtures. "We first studied the weak points of existing bathroom collections. I've always thought they lacked beauty and identity. They often are too clinical and technical," Hayon explained to Cool Hunting. By utilizing a combination of high quality materials such as lacquered wood, beveled mirrors, marble, and glass he achieved an elegant and distinctive look within an innovative modular system.

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The design process was not easy, as Hayon describes, "It was all about dreaming about options...during almost 3 years of work, I made infinite sketches and went through a very dynamic prototyping process. We worked intensely to achieve a collection that, I believe, is expressive of style, quality and personality." Hayon has also collaborated with Bisazza on numerous of other projects showcasing his unique use of mixed mosaics and materials, including their interior decoration home collection and the Jet Set plane.

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From one project to the next, Hayon avoids stagnancy is every aspect of life and design. Most recently, premium Danish furniture brand Republic of Fritz Hansen brought Hayon on to design a new sofa. Named for the Danish word for embrace, FAVN is the result of a creative dialogue between designer and company. Launched during ICFF in NYC last month, FAVN sports a contemporary design that blends textiles and aesthetic perfectly to fit in alongside decade old designs that Fritz Hansen is known for. Hayon describes his sofa as being "based on a shell. A shell being hard on the outside, soft and welcoming on the inside...a form that embraces you, something really organic."

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The shell-like design of FAVN is a nod to such influential designs as the Egg and Swan by Arne Jacobsen. However, Hayon's pension for bright colors and fresh extroverted design is obvious as well in FAVN. The experimental dialogue which brought about FAVN presents a delicate balance of flamboyant Spanish taste and clean Danish design. FAVN will be available through Republic of Fritz Hansen stores and dealers in early September 2011.

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Hayon has collaborated with other such reputable names as Bennetton, Metalarte, Artquitect Edition, Coca-Cola, Adidas, and Camper. He continues to keep busy pushing limits of design well into his career as has from the start. With the definition of design in a constant flux Hayon excels in the void. "Today I don't know my definition of design, but I do know it's a very interesting moment for design, because there is more acceptance, it's more hybrid."

The Audi Icons series, inspired by the all-new Audi A7, showcases 16 leading figures united by their dedication to innovation and design.

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