Think That The Fritz Hansen Showroom Is #DecorGoals? Jaime Hayon Discusses The Inspiration Behind Its Design
Unlike some of his peers, Jaime Hayón did not grow up in a family of designers. His father was a jeweller and his mother worked in the restaurant business. “My parents still don’t really understand what I’m doing,” shares the Spanish designer candidly. “My mother would go to an installation in which you have so many rooms and she’ll be like, ‘Where did you get that idea from?’ She’ll get really lost.”
His two young children, on the other hand, are growing up surrounded by Hayón’s creations as well as iconic furniture he and his photographer wife collected.
“Maybe I would have liked to be like them when I was younger,” he says, almost wistfully. “They’ve lived around good furniture since they were born. That affects your life quite a lot… Children copy you; my kids are drawing all the time now. If I’m drawing, they draw. They’ve been raised in a creative environment; whatever they want to be in life, that’s up to them.”
But it was in this unexpected environment where Hayón’s creative imagination thrived. Despite what he calls a “classical” upbringing, his parents did make room for his free‑spirited attitude to flourish.
As a rebellious teenager, Hayón left his native Madrid for San Diego in the US to immerse himself in the American skateboarding and graffiti art scenes. In fact, it was the do-it-yourself spirit of these subcultures that first sparked his interest in design.
“My parents really built my character and way of seeing things because they’re very open‑minded,” reflects Hayón.
“They’re accepting, they like that things are different. I like that about them a lot. That’s a very beautiful thing for me; it has taught me to be free.”
Perhaps it is this uninhibited approach that has made him one of the most unconventional talents of his generation. Playful and unorthodox, Hayón’s creations have blurred the boundaries between furniture design and sculptural art. “If I were a conventional designer, I would say, ‘Yeah, design influences me,’” he shares. “I get inspired more by the arts, folklore and things that are around me; when I’m travelling or in conversations.”
The prolific designer has worked across product categories, designing everything from chairs and lighting fixtures, to shoes and watches, as well as interior spaces for hotels and showrooms. He has also mounted exhibitions around the world featuring his artistic projects and surreal sculptures.
So when Hayón’s collaboration with Fritz Hansen first started in 2011, it came as a surprise to pundits and even the designer himself. With over a century of history, the Danish company is known for its rich heritage, while Hayón clearly enjoys upturning the rules. “It’s been a very intense relationship,” he admits. “I was supposed to be the person that would definitely not fit the company when they met me. I was too wild, too crazy; this was how it was a decade ago and still is now.”
Today, their relationship celebrates and benefits from these differences, tapping into the brand’s furniture-making repertoire, while embracing Hayón’s joyful aesthetic. The rounded proportions and colourful upholstery featured in the Fritz Hansen furniture authored by Hayón reflect his design language, while his quirky home accessories reflect his artistic side. “I think creativity happens when you break the rules,” says Hayón. “We have a very good relationship; it’s bringing a lot of joy to both of us.”
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Hayón recently designed a series of new showrooms for Fritz Hansen in Asia, including the sprawling 1,000sqm store in Xi’an, China, as well as the Singapore flagship at Tan Boon Liat Building that was opened in collaboration with W. Atelier in May. Conceptualised as a “lounge” rather than a formal showroom, the venue showcases the brand’s key furniture and lighting collections in colourful settings and cosy nooks.
As Hayón observes, it’s all about creating a liveable yet complete look, instead of lining products in a row within a typical store. An array of plants and accessories decorate each area, creating versatile settings that could easily be adapted for various interior needs, be it a home, a hotel lobby or a restaurant. “We like this idea of inspiring people in terms of the composition,” the designer explains. “I try to create an atmosphere that has the feeling of being in a hotel or a home. It’s about sharing different situations to inspire you to use the furniture.”
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The store concept has also been personalised for each location; the Singapore boutique’s most unique feature is the custom-made metal latticework that frames the arched doorways, which embodies Hayón’s jester-like energy.
The metal work is composed of a grid of geometric forms and the letters “F” and “H” (representing Fritz Hansen) that collectively make up the shape of a “face”; its see-through structure is designed to intrigue, encouraging visitors to look closer and explore the different rooms furnished with Fritz Hansen pieces. This element of the unexpected chimes just right with Hayón’s creative philosophy. “The unexpected is beautiful. The expected is boring,” he quips.
Fritz Hansen | #13-08, Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road | 6270 8828