State of Play

Award-winning artist-designer Jaime Hayon gives us a glimpse into a life lived in pursuit of wonder.

Interview by Caitlin de Laure
Photographs courtesy of Jaime Hayon

In the 14th century, the term Renaissance Man was coined to describe a versatile, well-rounded individual that was able to excel in multiple fields. Well, Spanish designer Jaime Hayon has been dubbed the Modern Renaissance Man, and for good reason. Born a native of Madrid in 1974, Jaime began his creative journey while being exposed to skateboard culture and graffiti art. From there, he went on to study industrial design and eventually became the director of the design department in Fabrica which he entered as a student in 1997.

Jaime set up his own studio in 2000, and has been generating spirited and unconventional creations that often resist classification between art and design. In this conversation, we are offered some insight into the inexhaustible workings of his mind and how his playfulness complements and informs much deeper issues that design can be used to address.

Congratulations on winning the ELLE EDIDA Designer of the Year Award and the Wallpaper Design Awards. It’s been four years since we’ve spoken to you, how have you been?

Thank you, I’m very busy, but very well too. It’s been very exciting these past four years and I’m now a father of two!

Has being a father informed your designs or influenced the projects you take on? (Judging from your past works and the recent Tiovivo installations, your kids must really enjoy your creations.)

Everything that happens in my life influences my designs—that’s the beauty of it. Having children has impulsed yet another twist in my creativity and I have taken on many new and vibrant interests of a world I share with them. This is clearly reflected in many of my works.

Jamie Hayon state of play

May we ask who the first appreciator of your work was?

That’s a great question. It’s difficult to say as my “work” went from graphics and street art to designing art and furniture elements.

First, it was my skating buddies that gave me great feedback on my graphic work. As for my more serious work, I guess it was David Gill—he saw my giant ceramic cactus sculptures and set up a show for me in his gallery, which was a huge deal. That kicked off my career as an artist, giving me incentive to quit my job and fully dedicate myself to creating my own work.

Read more in The U Press N˚12 (Singapore edition).