In Conversation With: Jaime Hayon

A flick through the portfolio of Jaime Hayon is a little bit like a trip to Wonderland. There are coffee tables that resemble jelly beans and generous lounge chairs inspired by the physiognomy of pelicans. And while no design is alike, each can be understood as an attempt to infuse homes with the gentle joyfulness of the world around us.


In this playful universe, design becomes as much about emotion as it is about function — a notion that feels particularly apt in today’s context. Nowhere is this philosophy better evidenced than in his ongoing collaboration with Fritz Hansen — a luxury Danish design house that exudes passion and verve.

As a society, we’re slowly waking up to the productive power of play. Is this true for contemporary design? Or is the industry sometimes guilty of taking things too seriously?

Play is very important in my work — in many ways, it’s the backbone for creativity and freedom. The industry does tend to take things too seriously — almost as if “serious” is more professional! I’ve always found that you can work professionally and have fun while doing so.

Explorer Side Tables

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Jaime Hayon Cushion

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There’s a real sense of alegria to your work. Does it speak to a personal philosophy? Are you as joyful or spontaneous as the objects you create?

It has everything to do with my personality and the way I see the world around me. I can’t help it!

Happy Hook

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Did you ever feel pressured to fit in? Or has the industry always welcomed eccentricity?

The start was not easy — being taken seriously was a challenge right up until things worked commercially. Only then were people more open to believing in me.

Ro Lounge Chair

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JH8 Side Table

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How do you translate your playfulness into Scandi contexts — a style that has long been identified with restraint and tradition?

I have worked with many Scandinavian brands and have learned much from them. I have profound respect for the companies I work with and expect the same in return. Whenever this happens, it’s magical — the best of both worlds come to life in a piece.

Favn Sofa

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Favourite thing about working with Fritz Hansen?

Their thoughtful process, their integrity and their ability to execute with amazing quality.

Ikebana Vase

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Analog Dining Table

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Of all your Fritz Hansen designs, which was the most technically challenging?

Each collection has had its challenges. Arriving at an amazingly crafted piece at a reasonable price is a constant challenge but one Fritz are determined to achieve.

Lune Three Seater Sofa

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Do you believe in finding your style? Or is it always evolving?

There is the essence which one must stay true to and then there is the journey to exploring creativity in many mediums and forms — this is a process, an evolution.

Elefy JH35 Office Chair

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Formakami Pendant Lights

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When do you work best? Morning or evening?

For me, it’s less about the time of day and more about the right setting. I am an early bird and really enjoy my first morning coffee with my sketchbook.

The world recently entered a period of lockdown. However, the creative mind doesn’t stop. How have you spent this time and what have been some of your major takeaways from this moment of isolation?

As someone who is used to travelling 70% of my time, staying in one place has been the most difficult part but I have also enjoyed this. It has not been easy on the family either but we have managed and learned a lot from spending quality time together.

Fri Lounge Chair

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Fred Lounge Chair

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Is it true that moments of hardship oblige us to be more creative?

Possibly. For me, it’s always time to be more creative!

Showtime Swivel Chair

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As a well-known designer, do you feel a responsibility to the future? To trail-blaze new paths or perspectives?

Hmm… I can’t say I think about this — I prefer to do!

Large Candleholder

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Réacion Poétique 06 Side Table

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Do you have any advice to designers who are just starting out?

Stay true to your style and work hard.

Milà Dining Chair

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