Fun over function with product designer Jaime Hayón

Whimsical Spanish designer Jaime Hayón explores materials and storytelling through products he creates with a childlike sense of fun.

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Spanish designer Jaime Hayón is all about exploration – exploring ideas, exploring materials, exploring history and storytelling. His work exists within a fantasy world he created for himself, daliesque at times and always playful. 

“I’ve always been a little bit of a Dr Jekyll-Mr Hyde,” says Hayón. “On the one side, I have my own planet. And on the other hand, I feel that design should say something, should be interesting materially, should be nicely done”

Hayón has worked with several big brands (including Fritz Hansen, Mooi and Magis) to create furniture that sits closer to fun than function. He argues that today people are too focussed on intellectual thinking when they should just be looking for inspiration and ideas in the everyday objects all around them. The encyclopaedia, he suggests, with its pages full of information, is the best source of ideas for a designer. Things of the past can become the things of the future with a little innovation.  

That curiosity and that sort of exploration, that naivety sometimes... looking at the world like a child is what brings in the end to the design I do something a little bit different.

Early in Hayón’s career, his teachers and peers found it hard to understand his methodologies. 

“My teachers and so on were saying to me ‘this really doesn’t work Jaime, because this is not functional. A table with so many legs, you can’t put a chair with it…’ But I’m not trying to do anything functional actually. I’m a bad designer actually. But I was trying to figure out how storytelling and history could influence what you do.” 

Hayón resists definition, shrugging off labels like designer and artist: “I don’t care. I am just a creative person,” he says. 

Watch the Interview with Jaime Hayón