Spanish designer, Jaime Hayon has a head of hair as vivacious and shiny as his work. His new book, Work, offers a full-bodied insight into his elaborately quirky, yet impeccably realised designs. From opulent table lamps mimicking a skyward explosion of bubbles, to a pair of overtly chic monochromatic shoes (designed for Camper), Hayon and timid are two words that dispel each other like incompatible magnets…
In the course of his colourful career, Hayon has beaten stiff competition to design five Camper shops in different locations throughout Europe, where the interiors included multi-legged cabinets, hand-painted plates, terracotta lamps and lacquered cash desks. The range of Camper shoes that he then designed were made available in a rainbow of colours, with an emphasis on fine detailing. For those that wince at the idea of pulling on a pair of achingly bright lime green or ruby red shoes – there’s always the black pair.
Work playfully details the process behind these and other Hayon designs; how they’re transferred from hyperactive jottings in sketchbooks to the computer-rendered creations that place the pieces in the particular surroundings they’re designed for. A publicity shot of the AQHayon bathtub shows Carlos, a member of ArtQuitect’s technical department, reclining in said tub, coolly reaching for a piece of fruit from a bowl designed to hold whatever bathtime luxury you might desire: bath salts, cigars? Quite how this might transfer to a bachelor pad, with a dribble of limescale and a few bottles of Radox less than symmetrically dotted round it, is anyone’s guess.
By and large, Hayon’s designs merge the playful and the extravagant. The Champagne connoisseurs, Piper Heidsieck, picked up on this ability when they requested the designer to create a promotional ice bucket that would fit in with the brand’s expensive tastes. Hayon’s solution: a curvaceous blood-red champagne cooler, with an oversized turned handle that nudges towards 007 glamour.
In the book, Jasper Morrison describes his first meeting with Hayon. A mix of dread that slowly turned to fascination, it would seem. “You board a plane for a twelve-hour flight to Cape Town and there’s a person sitting in your seat, wearing blue spectacles and bright red shoes,” he recalls. “He moves over the window and you take your place, fearing that he’s probably going to the same design conference and you’ll have to talk the talk for hours. That’s how I met Jaime, but it wasn’t boring. He’s like a book you can’t put down, except that you’re not holding the book and it’s reading itself. I sat looking at all his projects and listening to his stories, and soon I was hooked.”
As you might imagine, a not-so-shy flower such as Hayon is quite the self-publicist, and he frequently appears alongside his work and in other random images that offer a few extra insights into his life. Hayon as the non-stop traveller asleep at Madrid airport; cycling in Valencia or even dressed up as Mr Sheriff (albeit that he’s only four years old at the time).
But from giant, green rocking chickens (pure Shrek-meets-Little House on the Prairie), to lamps with fabric dresses where Swarovski crystals are “hot-fixed” onto the textile, Hayon creates pieces bursting with personality, and his book – with its gold-edged pages – complements his work perfectly.
Jaime Hayon: Works is published by Die Gestalten Verlag next week (£50).