Jaime Hayon does things by hand. A background in ceramics trained him in the value of being physically involved and invested in each work. The Spanish artist-designer brings the same manual dedication to drawing. Under his pen imaginary animals emerge in vibrant colors to be applied everywhere from canvas prints to interior spaces to product designs like his rugs for nanimarquina. The process always starts on Jaime’s sketchpad, and that can be anywhere in the world—not just his studio in Valencia, where artist Felipe Pantone also resides. “A cafe table in a peaceful place with quality coffee and a good environment is my favorite place to create,” he says.
For Jaime, being a teen in the early ’90s—skateboarding and learning from the creative types that culture attracts—was the impetus for his own artistic style. “For me it was crucial,” he says. “It made me alert to my surroundings both of a physical nature and a cultural and personal one. It was the main base upon which my creative universe started to grow.”
And “universe” is an apt description. Anthropomorphic furniture joins Jaime’s absurd, loosely recognizable animal drawings. Skateboarding and graffiti show their influence in raging colors and dynamic forms. Jaime works with many top design brands, blurring art, design, and decoration in collaborations with brands like Fritz Hansen. His longterm partnership with the brand has birthed the Ro sofa and numerous other pieces over the last 10 years. He says he prefers such continuous collaborations because “once you dive into the culture of a company, it’s a two-way street in learning, and both myself and the company create bridges where we can take the best of each and create something truly unique.”
This year Jaime joined Standard Hotel to help design its first Asian location—in Bangkok. Texture, shapes, colors, and a sense of whimsy straight from Jaime’s hand cloak the lobby. Rich colors reflect the vibrance of the city, and local art and folklore find a home throughout. He is always glad to take on projects like this, projects that pose a new challenge and allow him to explore his creativity on a deeper level. “Along with my personal growth, keeping and enhancing my freedom has been key,” Jaime says. “It allows me to really connect with my creativity and myself.”
His most recent project has been compiling all the other projects, 20 years of work in art and design, in a new book with Gestalten, Jaime Hayon, available from $69.75. Jaime says the year-long process of compiling and editing the monograph has been emotional and arduous. “It was very important to be able to go deeper into not only showing the work but reflecting on it, the way the different disciplines interact, examine my obsessions and my work method,” he says. “It’s been a real trip. I am profoundly happy to share it with the world.”
A version of this article originally appeared in Sixtysix Issue 09 with the headline “Jaime Hayon.” Subscribe today.