A great project allows me freedom

Tudor by Jaime Hayon - Tudor England, interpreted by one of contemporary design’s most original thinkers, looks a little like this. The Tudor Chair series and new Tudor Cabinet are that iconic period of history captured in product.

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EST: What is it about Tudor England that inspired you to create these designs?
Hayon:
I began designing the chairs when I arrived in London a couple of years back. I was fascinated with all the English culture around and the history. The links are a bit difficult to explain as roads are usually not straight, but the contact with a new culture and the novelty of everything around me had much to do with the design. When arriving in a new place, your eyes and pores are very open and your perceptions are very intense. The idea was to create pieces that are in a way a little heavy, a little medieval, with contrasts and good materials. I was inspired by Henry VIII’s world and his wives. The chairs are named after them.

EST: How did those inspirations manifest themselves into the forms you created for the Tudor Chair and Tudor Cabinet?
Hayon: The chair is part of a long process. It is a cross between the idea of tradition and elegance, put into a contemporary context. The cabinet is more inspired by the original Tudor idea, which was to create a series of furniture with similar geometrical beveled shapes. In the original idea, there was a table and chairs, that were meant to be Henry and his six wives…

EST: Is it usual for you to find starting points for your work in such abstract ideas — what else informs your designs and where else do you look for stimulation?
Hayon: I am inspired by so many subjects. History is one of them. Taking a look at the past is a great way to interpret today. Nature, culture, people, places… Inspiration is everywhere for me. I just need to start thinking about ideas and they arrive charged with influences. Sometimes also a material can be a good starting point. In London, the British Museum has been the start of a journey to a new product.

EST: Your visual language is particularly creative and imaginative, how would you describe the key characteristics of your work?
Hayon: Much of my work is based on an imaginary world I have been constructing for many years now. It is my own cosmology of creatures, shapes and characters — a sort of lense through which I interpret the world around me and imagine, for a second, it has the possibility of being invaded by my own world… It might sound funny, but it is quite true.

EST: What makes a great project for you? Are you able to apply your visual language and method of interpretation to anything?
Hayon: Every new project is a challenge and I enjoy new challenges. I do like to get my hands into anything that grasps my attention. If I like the subject, I do not fear it and I approach the project with all my energy. I do not enjoy working with people I don’t like. This is a rule I have tried to follow. There are subjects I am not very interested in, and those, I normally do not pursue. A great project allows me freedom and is based on believing in the idea itself…

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EST: Your sketches (as we are showing here) are a great insight into your creative process. How does that process tend to evolve?
Hayon: I sketch and sketch. It is always my starting point. I am surrounded by sketchbooks, pencils and colours and it is what I enjoy the most: starting, imagining, adding, starting again. My sketches come from a very clear image in my mind of a direction I like. After much sketching is done, I turn to my team and begin rendering the concepts, exploring dimensions, possibilities effects…

EST: How important are the ideas of fantasy and creativity to design (the wider world of) right now?
Hayon: I prefer to not judge the entire design world. I do feel we are lacking fantasy and have gone past the limit in recycling. Excessive access to communication distracts us from looking into ourselves and our ideas. I think we have to go back to the origin of creativity and allow ourselves to dream a little…

EST: What part of what you do satisfies you the most?
Hayon: The conception is what I enjoy most of the entire process. The moment when it is my sketchbook and I and the start of something.

EST: Do you have any ambitions as yet unfulfilled?
Hayon: Why of course! Otherwise I would have stopped doing what I do. There are many fields I would love to explore and much I know very little of. I look forward to new experiences… I would love to be more free, and to have more time with the ones I love.

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Sketches by Jaime Hayon

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