Backstage, Jaime Hayon, from the Imaginary to Real
From 06.02.18 a 28.02.18
All day long

For the first time in Spain, the Madrid Design Festival presents a retrospective exhibition of the works by Jaime Hayon, one of the most acclaimed designers of his generation.

Jaime Hayon (Madrid, 1974) is a multifaceted creator who has applied his highly personal and whimsical imagination to his every endeavour since opening his studio in 2000. He draws no distinction among the different arts on which he lays his hands: artistic design, handicrafts, interior design and illustration. His narrative fiction infects all his work with a fanciful and imaginative language of sinuous and organic shapes without regard for the exact discipline for which the pieces are created. Hayon is a serious and rigorous, organised and methodical, designer, who resolves matters of function and the use of the objects he designs effectively and with great attention to detail. However, he is also a creator who explores the blurry boundaries between design and art through pieces in which heeding a specific function is absolutely not the main objective. In any situation, combining function and emotion, his work encapsulates an optimistic, pleasant, positive and happy aesthetic, tinted at times with his inquisitive sense of humour and a good dose of irony.

This exhibition shows some of the works he has created both for art installations and the companies for which he has designed products, although its aim is not to be a mere catalogue of furniture and objects. On the contrary, we have tried to express the least known side of the production process, with the ambition of revealing and explaining how products move from fiction into reality, not as if by magic, but through the hard work and dedication of businesspeople and artists who, hand-in-hand with the designer—respecting his philosophy and with the determination of translating it into technologically or by hand, modifying, correcting, adding, risking, removing, improving—make it possible for the pieces to come into being. Jaime Hayon has a special predilection for pure materials like wood, glass and pottery, and extensive knowledge of artisan production, in which he places special emphasis on his personal commitment to revive and revitalise—and not let die or slip into disuse—traditional handcrafting techniques that are in danger of extinction and for which he feels a deep respect.

We have also wanted to reveal the behind the scenes—the backstage if you like—of this same process, bringing to light instead of hiding the references, sources of inspiration, details of the industrial and artisan production, that enrich the discourse and put his pieces into context. With this aim, we have created small cabinets of curiosities, which set out the seeds for his designs as captured in sketchbooks, old catalogues, books and all types of objects that help to explain the creative process and shed light on the mental associations from which ideas are born. Specifically, the sketchbooks are extremely eloquent of the designer’s identity and of how his brain works. They show the freedom with which he expresses himself that he identifies as Mediterranean, Baroque and digital, and speak of the maximalism and grand gestures inherent to his being and that he later shapes and tames to serve up in the right doses.


Text: Ana Domínguez Siemens

Location: Fernán Gómez Villa Cultural Centre
Dates: 6–28.02.2018
Exhibition curator: Ana Domínguez Siemens