Jaime Hayon: Design Follows Function, and then What?

Jaime Hayon: Design Follows Function, and then What?


Welcome to the Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker series. Today we present dynamic artist and designer from Spain, Jaime Hayon. A big thank you to our partners today for their support: Detroit Creative Corridor Center or DC3 Stewards of the UNESCO City of Design Designation and Michigan radio 91.7 FM. Penny Stamps special event tomorrow, you shouldn’t miss this. This is featuring the artist and roboticist Chico MacMurtrie. Chico has been here on campus for the past month. He’s been working with students from LS and A Engineering Art and Design, the School of Information and Music, Theater and Dance to build and launch a 40 foot robotic sculpture, which explores the notions of borders and boundary conditions. So tomorrow evening, afternoon, late afternoon, at the museum, between the museum and Ingalls Mall and the Institute for the Humanities. It’s gonna be another strolling operation of an event. We are going to celebrate the culmination of this work beginning with a performance outside the museum at 4:30 sharp to demonstrate the large scale inflatable robotic sculptures prototyped… A prototyped border crosser and an autonomous vehicle that have all been built here. And then at 5:30 PM, we’ll have a talk in the Helmut Stern Auditorium, at the museum, which will be our Penny Stamps special presentation of Chico. And then at 6:30, we will all convene to the Institute for the Humanities Gallery where there’ll be an opening for the Border Crossers exhibition featuring drawings representative of the vision of the project, as well as student models used in the preliminary phases. And if you missed the 4:30 robotic performance, this will happen again at 6:30 on Ingalls Mall. So I hope you will join us tomorrow for that. And then note, the next two weeks here, we will be on break. So have fun. Students, when you get your winter break week, hope you’re going somewhere great. If you go to Milwaukee, per chance, or Chicago, Jaime Hayon actually has an exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum, so you should take that in. That’s up ’till March 25th. We will be returning here on March 8th with another great designer, Georgia Lupe, so don’t miss that. We will have a Q and A today, regular style, in the screening room, directly following the talk here. So please do join us there. Please remember to silence your cell phones. And now for a proper introduction of our guest, please welcome Stamps School professor Stephanie Tharp. Hello. Happy Chinese New Year. I think it’s today or tomorrow. To all of those, to everyone that celebrates, I think it’s… Is it the year of the dog? So anyway, that doesn’t have anything to do with our guest, who is Jaime Hayon. He’s a Spanish artist and designer who was born in Madrid. He studied industrial design in Madrid and Paris, and afterward joined Fabrica in Italy. And Fabrica, if you don’t know, is the Benetton funded design and communication academy. There he directed the design department from 1997 until 2003. And since then, has fully dedicated himself to his own studio practice. His studio has offices in Italy and Spain, and he has an interest in continuously finding new perspectives with a practice that blurs the lines between art and design. He brings an interest in creating finely crafted intricate objects within the context of contemporary design culture, and has created collections for a very impressive list of clients including Fritz Hansen, Magis, Established & Sons, Moooi, Bisazza, Bernhardt Design, and more. He’s also done exhibitions and installations in major galleries and museums worldwide. He’s an acclaimed international creator with Time Magazine including him as one of the 100 most relevant creators of our time and Wallpaper Magazine listing him as one of the most influential creators of the last decade. In product design there are a lot of people, which is my discipline, there’s a lotta people who can give a form or an object its function, but in the courses I teach we talk a lot about making objects desirable so kind of going beyond function and finding a connection, an intimate connection to the user. For Jaime to achieve this, he talks about giving his work a soul and a story, and he says in a quote, “It’s important to remember that my design is made for humans to be used by humans. I believe that design should provoke emotions and make you feel good.” So with that, I’ll let him tell you more about his story and his objects. So lets please give him a big Stamps welcome. Hello. So thank you very much for the introduction and thank you everyone for being here tonight. My name is Jaime, and I’m really happy already to hear that they pronounce it really well, because it’s not easy. It’s not easy to pronounce my name. I come from Madrid. And this is how you write my name, Jaime and this is my last name, Hayon. I’m actually quite excited to be here. First of all, I don’t know if you noticed, but I have gave you an honor to put actually these colors today. So I hope you like it. Anyway… I’m gonna show you a lot of images on relation to my work, and the most important thing is that every time I’m creating one of these presentations, what I like is to show and kind of it to inspire people through images and show them a little bit about what it is that I do. I put a 100 images in here. They’re are all images about the work and the process and trying to explain a little bit what is important for me, what is relevant. I hope it will inspire you. I put this sentence, first of all. Why did I put this sentence called form follows function and then what, I said and then what because I’ve realized from a long time ago that design was not only about functionality, not only about just producing a use, but it was about something else. It was about emotions. I think design can provoke to you a certain type of emotions and communication. So I think you will understand that by looking at the images that I’m gonna show you, and probably understand a little bit more about what I do. Something important for me, it’s actually been always the fact of trying to find my style, trying to go around and trying to find my own way of looking at things. I’ve always had my little world, and I’ve always been drawing non stop. Just going all around the world, always with my sketch books and trying to imagine how I would see the world. So I draw really free, and from this free style actually I started to create objects and projects in the field of art and design, and also interior design. You will see through the images. I was always inspired about traveling and seeing things and always having a sort of a third eye, looking around and thinking that by observing I could get ideas and could get some narrative, and use these things as something interesting. When I started, everything was so boring. I remember perfectly going to Milan, and seeing all these guys dressed in black and I said, “Is that design? So boring.” Well, I dressed up like that. I used to be a little bit different. And I still, I have this kind of sort of vision that I don’t care to show. So I dress up and I had fun. And I always had fun. I was always someone very distorted for some reason, because my eyes look at things and said, “Oh, that could be an installation.” I remember looking at this pharmacy in Florence, and immediately after creating this installation of there, which is actually something similar, it’s just a translation from something that is very usual, very normal, then suddenly into something that is actually quite interesting materically, and in terms of creativity. So for me, it was always about discovering things, looking at materials in a different angle, and looking also at tradition and things that exist up there just in order to use them as ingredients to make and cook something new. Because isn’t a design, at the end, something similar, like being in a kitchen? I think we’re all a little bit like cooks at the end. We just use the ingredients and just create something quite as special about it. Anyway, so I look at traditional things like there for example, you see this Ming Dynasty vase, I was always inspired about what you could do with ceramics. I started with ceramics because it was cheap. A lot of people ask me “Why did you start with ceramics?” It was cheap, but it looks quite expensive. It’s actually, at the end of the day, it’s just some earth and some water. I’ve done also a lot of public projects through the ceramic. Not only those vases that you saw before, but for instance, this is actually a public installation that I made in London in Trafalgar Square. If you’re familiar to London, Trafalgar Square is like this very, very powerful, central London square, which actually commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, which is actually quite interesting because, well, they commissioned me to do some work in there. But actually we lost the battle as Spanish. So I don’t know why they did it. It was kind of a joke. But anyway, for some reason, I thought it was interesting, the fact that it was a battle. So I thought about this concept of creating a chess game which is actually about a strategy. And by creating these I made something that was quite linked to the square. And it was also very English, the bishop, the queen, the king, all that. Anyway, this was my first design. And this was design, actually, was, well, it was quite interesting because first of all it was a plastic chair, which I never use plastic since, it was the only plastic thing I did. And I don’t know why. But it was interesting because I said to my client, “I wanna make a chair that you can put in a musical.” He was like, “What kind of… There’s no musicals anymore.” And I said, “Yeah, but I quite like the idea. Something quite glamorous, yeah?” I was inspired about that, and I still remember I couldn’t even sleep because this was my first project and someone said, “You know this mold costs about $400,000 to make?” And I was like, “Man, okay. I’m already nervous, how much more nervous can I be?” This was a terror, so prepare yourself for the industry because it’s quite complicated once in while. But, nevertheless, this was quite exciting to do. And from there, a lot of things happened. This was my second project actually, which was a cabinet. This cabinet was supposed to be a container. I remember the client saying to me, “Oh, we just need a cabinet. It just has to be modular and functional.” I never really read any briefs in my life, and I was always very confused about those. But anyway, he gave me this really thick brief and just like, whatever, I didn’t read it. So I came up with this idea. I said, “Here’s your cabinet,” which is a rectangle like everyone does. And then I asked every friend of mine, like my friends and family just send me your legs. Not your legs, but the other legs. I said, “Just put them random, whatever the client will choose what do they want to put. If they’re minimalistic they will use Japanese very simple T’s, and if they’re not, they will use a lotta legs.” This was a different way of designing. This was pretty cool because without designing you actually earn some money. It was quite good. I’ve done a lot of public things, and every time I do these kind of installations… This is in the High Museum in Atlanta, so as they were introducing me before I worked with institutions, museums in the planet, but also with clients of industrial design and so on, well, this is one of them. The High Museum is a great institution, and with them I did this installation which kids and public can interact with the sculptures. And they’re not only sculptures, they’re more than that, they’re just playful sculptures in which people can go through them, get inside a slide and get out and it was quite interesting to see how people really enjoyed that type of work. As you can see, the type of work I do in general is quite positive. It’s not very rectangular and quite heavy and dark. No it’s the opposite, it’s pretty colorful and so on. And so here I am always dressing up, always putting myself like that. This is quite funny because my brother’s actually a banker but I made it to the Financial Times actually with that picture. So imagine, so that was quite interesting. Going to the bank going like, “I made it to the Financial Times and you didn’t.” But anyway, I dressed up like that. My parents never understood what the hell I was about, but anyway, whatever. They still don’t know it, but I really like them. So anyway, this was this year’s installation I created in Milan, it’s quite curious, I use a material called Caesarstone which is very boring, it’s like a marble you use for kitchens and toilets and so on. And I remember my client coming to me, “Can you do something nice with this material?” And I was already like, “I don’t know.” “I’m not very sure.” But the first thing I said I had this imagination of creating a pavilion and I said, “Well, if I find somebody to finance it, it will be great.” And actually those guys they make a boring material but they make something very powerful at the end. So this was actually the result, and I’m gonna use this as an example for you guys to see how I work so check this out, one second, I’ll show how it works. So from the sketches to the reality, you can see it in this video. I’m normally a person that doesn’t use 21st Century materials. I will use, within my philosophy of creativity, materials that are natural and that are actually decaying by time. When I confronted myself with Caesarstone the first time, I was not truly believing I could do something special with it. I thought it would not give me the flavor I wanted. But now that I’ve used it, I’ve understood that it’s actually the opposite because what I did is I focused much more on the ability of the material. The enriching part of Caesarstone is actually when you combine it. When you combine it, you create contrast. Not only by creating contrast with color, but also with textures and different reflections that you get in the material. So immediately I thought about that marquetry could be an interesting use. Now, if you think about marquetry, how it used to be done with marble, it’s hardly impossible to make it in this scale. But if you think about the plates of Caesarstone and the way technology allows you to cut it, then you can bring it up and bring something really special to it. So this is how I discovered it, sort of putting it together, understanding that this was perfect. And then by cutting it with the high tech technology they got, you get an amazing result like a 21st Century marquetry, which is actually something you don’t see so often. This could have been cut in Caesarstone… Dot dot dot dot… The one material, another material. So for me now, I look at the material in a complete different way. I think Caesarstone it’s much more luxurious than we think. So today I’m kind of changing my philosophy. I use a lot of different combinations of the material to actually show the diversity of the material. For me was this idea of creating something that is more spectacular, bringing up characters, bringing up sort of a theatrical scene to it. So I sort of looked at folklore in a random way, trying to get influences, to get those to be used on the patterns and graphical elements that I used on the Caesarstone installation. As a visitor, you enter this palace, which is completely amazing in terms of size and grandeur. It used to belong to Napoleon. And when you enter the installation, you’re seeing a complete new world that you haven’t seen before, and it just shocks you around and you sorta get a lot of energy from it ’cause it’s made and built from energy. You’ll see graphics you’ve never seen. You see the material performing completely different. And when you get out of there, you think you’re in Milan in the furniture fair but you’ve seen a fantastical world. This is what happens. Okay, anyway, well, as you can see, I can sell the products pretty well. Anyway, it was a good way to see how I work. You can see the sketches and how you work with material and so on. For me something that it’s important is actually to work also with heritage. It’s quite interesting because a lotta people see these things, like these figurines, this is a company called Lladro, which is actually from my home town, and a lot of people know it because it’s quite known, especially a lot of grandmothers and older generations actually collect these. And I was pretty fascinated about it. Why was I fascinated? First, because it’s in my city, and second, is because in the era of the iPhones and iPods and all that, there was actually people that are very young, creating flowers and things by hand, which is actually quite interesting. When I started to work with these people, some friends of mine called me and said, “Man, you’re crazy, man. That’s gonna ruin your career.” It was kinda crazy, I had all these guys going, on the phone, going, “It’s not for you.” And I said, “Why not?” And I’ve understood something really important, that is that from some sort of classical point of view and some kind of classical company, you actually can make something really special. It’s interesting to see these figurines because they anyway they need things. They need shoes like my shoes. They need furniture and they need things like that. So I didn’t look at those figurines in the normal way. I actually felt I could make them very new and also get the interest of the younger generations to actually buy these things. Why not? So I started to play with different things, inviting people to work with me, and create things like being inspired on manga and so on. And create my own family set of portraits, why not? This is the Jaime Lladros, which are pretty different than the other ones. Anyway, made with the same qualities than the ones they used to make. So, you got the old one there and then you got the Jaime one there. Yeah, it’s very different. Or you got the old one in the left and then the Jaime one on the right. So this kind of thing is actually what makes me be very excited to work with people. So I work with companies that are very, very old, like this one. Baccarat’s a company from 300 years ago and they make crystal, and with them I work in crystal as well. The same way they used to do back in the day, creating the chandeliers and so on. I decided, “You know what? I’m gonna go there and I’m gonna try to convince them and work with them in a way like nobody does.” Just creating the atelier and trying to go there and experiment, and work with artisans and so on. So I went there with my sketches and I started to work with the crystal as if it was like candy and started to experiment with them. This is interesting because going to a place and bringing that energy and that will of going and saying, “Ey, you know, you’re always think about business, why not researching together and doing something new?” So this is how I work with them. In a way that it was actually a quite fascinating and quite challenging, also for them to go on in. And for me this is part also the philosophy of the way I work. It’s kind of trying to find something that is actually challenging and trying to find a theme that is quite interesting. I believe that without a theme, without narrative and this is why I put the first sentence in this question. I said, “Design is not only about function, it’s also today in the 21st century, creating a narrative. It’s creating something else. It’s creating emotions.” And if you have themes and a lot of you are students, if you start from a theme it’s actually quite interesting because a theme will definitely, immediately go and make you think and make you find also that sort of creativity that your project needs. Aside of obviously the function or whatever you want. My client here, they wanted a cabinet and they wanted to have a table. Why not? I put that podium cabinet, which is quite interesting. And I remember someone come to the gallery going like, “Oh, that’s quite nice.” That idea of the podium cabinet. I will put my favourite things in the first one and then second. I said, “That’s exactly what I thought, no way.” Never thought about that. But nevertheless, the point is that you get inspired about things and those things get applied immediately to the projects. And by doing that, you create something quite new. It’s like in this case, I go to Rome. And Romans were very smart. They never put a base in the vase. Imagine. They were always like that. They invaded all Europe, but they never put a base, so they were not so smart. But anyway… I was quite inspired about the fact that you have this really cool forms. And I just used those to create a new collection of items, which are actually made today in Rome, which is quite interesting. And I just worked this kind of old technique and created new pieces. So the point is that here it’s very clear to see how from one theme something comes up. Sometimes the narrative doesn’t start from a theme. It starts from a call. This gentleman that you see there, some of you might recognize, this is Mister Le Corbusier, one of the biggest architects of the 20th century, and that’s his mother. Okay, someone calls me in my house. December, I don’t remember when exactly. But this foundation of Le Corbusier, they just call me and tell me, “You know what, we’ve got something for you.” And I said, “What do you have for me?” And well, if you study architecture, there’s something quite interesting that is like… There’s a house in Geneva, in Switzerland, that is called Villa Le Lac and it was the house of the mother of Le Corbusier. And it’s been studied by a lot of architects because it had a tree and it was the first house that was built round this sort of very magnificent tree, which became a roof to the house. Well, the tree got sick and these people call me and they say, “You know what, we have a tree to give you. Do you wanna do something with it?” And I’m like, “What am I gonna do with a tree? Where do I put the tree?” A tree is not like you give me some candy or something, you know, like give me a car I can park it, give me a tree, where do I put it? So I was already freaked out with the tree. Even if it was from Le Corbusier. Whatever. I was like, “What do I do with the tree?” Anyway, we chopped the tree and I got really interested about Le Corbusier ‘s history. So I started to look at his architecture and about what to do with the tree. And I wasn’t really sure. Obviously, it’s a small tree and the tree is not very good, and the wood is not very good, it was sick. So what I do is I thought about who would miss the tree. And I said, “Well the birds might miss the tree. The kids might miss the tree.” To put the swing on it. So what I did is I did a swing and I did some tree houses for the birds. So this is what I did with the wood of the tree. And with that, thinking of Le Corbusier and so on, and his architectural theories and all his sculptural elements, I actually created a collection of functional things. You will see, well, that’s the tree before and that’s the tree now. Poor tree. It’s like nothing now. Poor thing. Anyway, so, what I did is this kind of collection of accessories, which is not just a normal accessory like cables and little objects but it’s more than that because it has this functional and sculptural ability to be there. So I quite like that. And it’s sort of what’s based on the architecture and theories of Le Corbusier. This is how this project actually started. For me it’s not that the things just happen just like that. You gotta be also very careful. As a designer you have to look at things. You have to look at the materials and you have to be very intuitive but at the same time you have to be very disciplined onto details and form and so on. I get inspired a lotta times by things that are like this. This is just a simple Chinese thing, so I take this and I transform to something my clients might want like the land you see there. I like to see sometimes a design can be really simple but if you have a strong idea and you can decline this idea into different objects, you can actually make something quite interesting. But for me the whole point of designing and creating the real exercise of design, I actually started when I started to work with this company called Fred Hanson. Which is a company from Denmark. With them I did sofas and loungers. And when I designed these things, these functional things which are very different to other things you will see and you’ve seen before. I tried to work on the textiles, on the details, on how everything is done. So on the sketches I tried to think and imagine how the things are put together. Now these are industrial products so they need to be perfectly done and they need to be thought constantly and on everything. When I designed with these people, what I try is to try to understand what they’re doing. And not try to imposing myself. And I think that’s something really important because most designers become more popular in the planet, the worse they are because they impose themselves, and that’s not really happening very well. At the end, it doesn’t become very interesting. What is interesting is to understand who do you have in front of you and how you can work with them. So these guys are good at making shapes. They use to make the Arne Jacobsen shapes in the 1950s and I thought it was interesting to work with them to understand and try to bring something interesting to the table. Here you can see a little bit how my mind thinks. I see an image of an Arpa and I create a chair that is based on that. So this is the Arpa chair which is exactly doing the same that the Arpa does, which is being very light in the structure. And then I have these feathers where you can sit on which is a bit like the music. Same happen with this chair. When I told you before that design is not only about function. Obviously we know already by a lot of ergonometrics how to sit. Now, you will never see this chair the same way, because now you know it comes from the fact of catching one to the other. I remember showing this image to my client and he was like, “What do you wanna do?” And I said, “I wanna do a chair that has that feeling. A feeling that someone is trying to embrace you.” And this is called a Catch chair. It’s trying to catch you so every time I see it, I see… This crazy chair following me. So this is the whole point. The whole point is that design, it’s important to be thought before and it’s important to understand what it’s really wanting to say. Also the way we work, for example, this chair is not made with a computer and with a drawing. No, no. This chair is made by me calling this guy, going to see him, getting all those bones that you saw before, and working in the atelier to put it together. Put it together… You do it manually. And in this way, you can create a chair that is very human because it is made by humans. Especially today, in the society that we just push a button and suddenly… You get a chair or you get whatever. Computers are killing us. So you guys, watch out with what you push. Anyway, the point is, that for me, art, things that I visualize, traveling and going around, it’s what it makes me have ideas. This table that comes from Collier. The idea of putting together different materials and combining them together by creating something that is actually quite unique. You actually become quite special. This is the kinda point, I’m always looking for combinations and things that could be quite surprising as well. Same with this chair. Imagine your client when he comes to you and said, “I want you to design a wire chair.” A wire chair with metal. And I come with the poster of the pineapple and I was like, “I wanna make this.” And the guy is like, “Man you have a problem.” I was like,”Yeah.” “That’s not a chair.” “I know it’s not a chair. It’s a pineapple but whatever.” if you look at that pineapple, it does have that shape that is quite interesting because it has a grid. And by looking at that grid, I said to him, “Now we have a concept.” “You might be right.” And I said, “Yeah, you have a concept and we can call it Piña.” Piña is pineapple in Spanish. So this is how we start a project. We start a project with these fantasy. These idea that comes from anywhere. And some people tell me, “I live in Milwaukee and there’s nothing here.” I say, “No, no, that’s not true.” “I live in Africa and there’s nothing here.” And I say, “No that’s not true because everything is there.” You can have… If you put me in this theater for all my life. Which I don’t wanna be. Because that’s too long. I could do every project from now on from this theater. Anything you look at can be the starting of an idea. So you don’t need to go anywhere. You just need to look properly. Like these guys. They’re from my neighborhood and they make this really ugly, old thing. And I say, Why don’t we use the same material and make something really cool. These vases, at least they have something cool.” Suddenly the whole industry changed. So it is to look at what you have around and try to use it in a different way. Sometimes I work with technology. Like in this case here, creating this chair in aluminium. And sometimes I work with the terra cotta people… These guys near my house. Which I can make something quite special. So the point is, is to look around you and to get always the concept that could bring it into an idea. And by doing that you can progress and go on and develop things. Obviously, as a designer, you gotta be careful so that things are functional and that things work at the end of the day. When I design something that is functional, it has to work and it has to be comfortable. But when I design something that is not functional, that it’s art. Because that’s the difference in between art and design. Function. So don’t get crazy when they ask you. There’s only one word different and it’s function. No function. You know what it is. Anyway, I go around the world because I look for diversity. This is my friend, Jasper Morrison and together we did a clothing line recently. And I did a clothing line because it was a challenge for me. Especially because I’m not a fashion designer. Though I dress really cool with my Michigan collars. And I’ve done my shirts and things inspired on my ceramics and things like that. We’ve got a company that is actually doing clothing with known fashion designers. Once in a while, I see things that I think they’re bad design, like these T shirts. I would go to a lot of Arabic countries and I did those for free, new design for the T shirts, a little bit more well done. Nevertheless, I did my watches as well because I like them and I design things that once in a while is not that I dream about designing everything in the planet, no way, but I dream about designing things that I like. I do my shoes, for example I did these shoes here and I did one for every day including the Sunday. You got the black one, if you wanna go to the church, you can go with that one. With these shoes I did also the raining one… For this kinda weather. Nevertheless, here I also had a good time because on one hand, I work with technology which was like to make this molded whatever, and then on the other hand there’s someone with hand make skills that made the shoes. Sorry, so anyway, what is important for me is to learn by doing. This was an interesting idea because this came actually… I went to Japan and I’m not someone… You seen, I work with these artisan companies and companies from 200 years old. So, technology companies are nearly not interested on my skills, but these guys they came to me and they said, “Can you do a cellphone for us?” And I said, “Why not?” So I went to see them in Tokyo and when I was in the tower, I already had the idea, but because they will pay me a lot of money I didn’t say anything. I said… I was quiet and… But they were talking about the battery, that you lose the battery every time looking at the clock. And I said, “Well, then put a clock on the phone, so you don’t lose… An analogical clock.” Then he said, “We’re losing a lotta money because we sell all these little things to the Japanese girls and boys and so on and we cannot sell anymore because the Apple people don’t put anything on it.” Well there you go, then I did two wholes, one whole for the clock, “Toot,” And another for the little things. And on the other hand, something really important and quite relevant was that I put protection. You buy this beautiful… You got these guys in Apple, presenting the phone like with these videos that are super prepared. And then you have to put a cover, man, you have to put a condom on it. No, no, no. Mine is already protected. So it’s good. Anyway, serious company called me too. This is BMW and they called me to design something bizarre around this urban mobility. And I did this quite interesting weird object which was to go around the city, but it was really well done. So these kinda things happen to me quite often going from one thing to the other and trying to learn by doing, by collaborating with people sometimes, and by inventing my own projects. And going around the world, to me, is probably one of the most important things. This is why I’m in Michigan today. And it is definitely to learn. Even if I’m a sensei, for example, for the Japanese because I’ve studied as a ceramist and I’ve made my own ceramics for so many years, I went there and practiced their art and tried to learn by doing with the artisans up there that made everything by hand for the art of the table and so on. It is interesting, I think, to get out of your comfort zone constantly. For me as a creative, and I’m also not only a professional, I’m also a teacher in a university in Lausanne in Switzerland. And to my students, I always tell them, “Just get out of your comfort zone, man. Whatever I’m gonna tell you, you can listen to it, but then just throw it away. Do your own thing.” I always said to people, “Go your own path and believe in it. It’s really important.” So, this is why I go to different countries, to see what they’re doing, and to share knowledge, to sort of share what you know, and to get to see something that is gonna excite you and get you somewhere else. For me, going from one place to the other is actually really important, nonstop. This is the company I work with too, it’s from Austria and I’m super fan of the Austrian furniture. Especially the fact that the Austrians were quite interesting in the beginning of the century. If you see for example, this chair here on the right, it’s called seat’s machine. It’s the machine to seat and this is super bizarre chair. Imagine this is from 1901. I don’t know if you can imagine going to a place and seeing a chair like that is so weird. With this kind of technology, and these kinda chairs, these kind of styles, I actually try to make new things which were based on how these things were built before. So for me, it’s always to look for what’s interesting instead of waiting for someone to tell me what to do. I also became an interior designer which is quite interesting and maybe some of you are doing that practice too. Interior design is quite curious because… This was my first restaurant, it was really chunky. This is how it looked like and I remember the client telling me, “Yeah, we have this Corinthian whatever Roman column.” And I said, “Now you’re gonna get a Jaime column.” So this is what I did for them. I just gave my own column and I’ve realized that I could play with the money of the client which is the best thing. I started to do every new. The land’s new, the handle’s new, everything was an excuse. If you make something special, and to coordinate this thing. This is a restaurant that has been years already, it still works pretty well and it’s kind of an Alice in Wonderland space. Food’s really good that’s why they still are there. It’s not a bad design that much. Nevertheless, I work with the company called Camper and with them, I did the same. I could do my crazy projects inside of their shops because at the end of the day they only needed a table just to put some shoes. So I did these crazy tables and these crazy scenes and nevertheless, I’ve realized that sometimes, as an interior designer… And I said if some of you are interior designers you actually make this incredible, you have this incredible problematic projects like this one. This is my client come to me saying in Paris, “I would like to have the best restaurant in Paris with this space,” and I said, “Then have you really looked at it? It’s such a crap… Look at it. If you go through that staircase man you die. It was like “uh uh,” impossible. And everything was horrible. There was nothing good. And then what do you do, do you cry? Or you just go and say, “Okay I’m gonna try to make it.” But this is the kinda problems that happen to you. You get this crazy stuff going on and so I thought it was so bad that I said, “Maybe it’s quite cool actually.” And this is how my way works which I sometimes go really wrong because you should not do that in your life, you should actually go one way. But anyway, I was based on that crap to make something cool and the point is it was like the Middle Ages, with all these things and all this rock and everything. So I used all these things and I said, “Okay, I get to stand in the mirror,” so I make a new mirror. I make a new staircase. I look the paintings of the Middle Ages where they have the flowers and I said, “I want the flowers set ups the same way.” I invented some archeology in it and created some chevaliers as mirrors. And so I put order in the place. So I created a more surrealistic space which at the end it actually worked. So this is why, sorry about that, this is why I think interior design sometimes is like a platform in which you can really express yourself and put all the disciplines together. This is another challenge. This is one of my latest projects, this is in Madrid and it’s a hotel. It’s a really big hotel in the city. And here I said to my clients, “I don’t wanna use patterns.” Every interior designer wanna use patterns and I said, “No, no patterns.” My client was already, “Man, I don’t know if this is the right guy. He doesn’t wanna use patterns. My wife loves patterns. He’s not the right guy.” And I said, “Come on, man, just drink some wine and look at the project.” This is the… This is Spanish. It happens all the time. If you have the meeting in a bar, you definitely will make the project. So anyway, the point is that I use color and this color was quite challenging. I was in my office changing all these colors, putting them together, and trying to realize in which way I could do that. And as a present, I gave him one pattern, so I created this huge sculpture of a bear which is not a bear, it’s a zebra bear. So the guy freaked out with that. So he was pretty happy with it. Anyway, the point is that he got his pattern, and the whole project worked really well. This is quite an interesting project, because interior design, at the end of the day, what you want from that is aside of being comfortable and functional, obviously if you go to a restaurant be good the food and all that. What you want is that you feel great when you go into this place, so I thought that bear that is welcoming you when you come from another part of the world, it’s quite cool, like, “Hello.” So why not? Not everyone understands me when I show this stuff, but whatever. Nevertheless, at the end I just wanna be me, Jaime, that guy that came from the Michigan style and thing. So, I dressed up like that which could be worst. And I design things that are not functional too, like my green chicken rocking chair which is actually going around the world in different museums, and why not? Why not? And what I think is that you can be like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which is what I am at the end. Because I could be that serious guy that companies come and say… I remember the guy from BMW telling me, “Ahh sir, what are you up to right now, what are you designing?” And I was like, “I’m designing a green chicken rocking chair”. Well, you should imagine his face, it was pretty cool actually, German, rigid. So he freaked out a bit. Nevertheless, it was true. I was not lying. And by doing really what I wanted to do in my profession, in my career, in my life, which I invite you to do too, do what you really believe, I arrived to do and to be who I am. I remember people trying to categorize me in many different ways. “What are you? Are you a designer? Are you interior designer? Are you an artist? What are you?” And I said, “That’s your problem man. I don’t care what I am. The important thing’s to do what you like.” Attention to that, because they will try to categorize you all your life but you have to think about it first. Do what you really believe. That’s the most important and this is really, really an important thing. And, well, we’ll go for questions later but I’m sure some questions will arise that you’ll like my response, eventually. Nevertheless, once in a while in this world of negativity, I wake and I go, “What the hell’s going on with all this crazy world?” So I remember going to this… You notice these things like when you go to a Chinese seller, that Japanese restaurant, you see a cat going like that and he’s telling you, “Come to spend the money in the restaurant.” Well, I love that cat, because he’s calling you like, always moving the hand. And I wake up one morning, I said, “I’m not gonna do a cat, I’m gonna do a bird,” and I did this bird that is standing up. I call it the whole bird. He is like looking at the thinking that the future could be better. So this kinda thing, nobody asked for it, but why not? Now I have people calling me, “Thank you for doing the whole bird, I love it.” And so like, “Great.” It’s really crazy. Anyway, I will continue doing this kinda projects in which I will… I love to see people playing with my work and seeing kids having a good time and adults having a good time with it. And understanding and seeing the quality of the work at the same time and appreciating the playfulness of it and the positiveness of it, because it gives you a smile and it’s not that design that is kind of… And I don’t know if you guys have that but I have a lot of the… Thing a lot, because it’s all over. People keep doing these jobs that are square. Do you have square parts in your body? Look at yourself. We’re round. We’re not square, so why square? Isn’t it, you have to be the other side of the mold. So things should be round, please, round but with coherence. And nevertheless, these installations and these kinda projects have run me to be someone happy at the end of the day, someone that likes their profession and loves to enjoy. But at the end of the day, my studio is really simple. It’s a lot of pencils, color, and a sketchpad to draw. This is what I like the most. Where I put my ideas and then I use this wall where I put the ideas on the wall and I see them as ingredients, as I said before. It’s impossible, obviously, to work alone. I work with a team of people I love. And there’s a philosophy in my studio, in which people share thoughts, we eat together, we talk about projects. And we try all the time to discuss and to challenge ourselves constantly. And without that challenge, life will not be the same. And this is why at the end we have a good time and we make projects that are interesting and well done in general. So, for me, at the end of the day, this is where I live, I live in a nice house, finally. I didn’t start it like that, because I used to share an apartment with 10 people when I started, so this is not the most incredible profession at the beginning. But you can have a good time. And if you do what you like, then you might achieve what you want at the end of the day. Well, for me, at the end of the day and at the end of this lecture, the only thing I wanna tell you people is that, I will continue to dream and to look at the horizon like that bird and try to have the best time in my life and wish you the same. Thank you so much.


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