As a teenager, he submerged himself in skateboard culture and graffiti art, the foundation of the detailed, bold-yet-whimsical imagery so imminent in his work today. After studying industrial design in Madrid and Paris he joined Fabrica in 1997, the Benetton-funded design and communication academy, working closely with the legendary image-maker and agitator Oliviero Toscani. In a short time he was promoted from student to head of their Design Department. Eight years later, Jaime broke out on his own, first with his collections of designer toys, ceramics and furniture, later followed by interior design and installations.
Home according to Jaime Hayon
Jaime Hayon is a busy man, and these first months of the year are often his most hectic. He is currently in Vienna, on his way to Zurich, to prepare for the Milan Furniture Fair. Here he will present his new products, including the easy chair Fri™ and dining chair Sammen™ designed in collaboration with Fritz Hansen. We caught a few moments to get his views on good design and home.
WHAT IS GOOD DESIGN IN YOUR OPINION?
"Good design is primarily design that lasts. Design must have something to say. It must be able to improve our quality of life, and it must be meaningful. But for me, design is not just about function. It is also about feelings, and I like if it provokes a little and can challenge our way of life."
HOW CAN FURNITURE AND DESIGN HELP TO CREATE HOME-LINESS? AND DO YOU THINK IT IS A SPECIAL DANISH PHENOMENON?
"Yes, I would say. The Danes have a very unique approach to furniture design. The Nordic understanding of nature and of using natural materials in furniture design is deeply rooted in you. You know how to bring nature inside because your furniture is made of natural materials such as wood, stone and leather. These natural materials instinctively give a nice feeling, but it is also about the craftsmanship, that a piece of furniture is upholstered in a way so that it embraces you and makes you feel comfortable, that the finish is perfect. The Danes are exceptionally skilled at this."
WHEN DO YOU THINK THAT A SPACE IS NICE TO BE IN AND WHEN DO YOU FEEL AT HOME?
"A room is homey when the lighting and the atmosphere come together, when the music matches the place and when the combination of colours and light makes me feel happy. But I would also like to be able to feel what is happening outside. I do not like being confined to rooms that are closed up, where daylight is excluded or where materials and furniture are cold, or where I get cold feet"
DO YOU THINK THERE IS A DIFFERENCE IN THE PERCEPTION OF HOMELINESS IN THE NORTH AND IN THE SOUTH?
"Yes, and for the simple reason that we spend more time outdoors in the south. In the north, you spend more time indoors and therefore your homes are more important to you. You put more effort into the decoration of your homes than we do in southern Europe. But the feeling of home–to have a pleasant fragrance, the scent of wood for example, when you walk into a home, the pleasant sensation of daylight–is universal and for me, some of the most important factors when we talk about home."
HOW CAN FURNITURE CONTRIBUTE TO A HOMELY ATMOSPHERE?
"Furniture can greatly contribute to the creation of a home – if it is comfortable, high quality and wellplaced. There is nothing better than a couch near a fireplace in the afternoon on a winter day with some tapas, a glass of wine and good friends."