Jaime Hayon pursues simplicity of form, sophistication of function, and a little playfulness in the new TOTO by Hayon bathroom collection.
10 May, 2019
When Jaime Hayon took us on a tour of the new TOTO by Hayon collection at the TOTO Indonesia showroom in Jakarta, he was animatedly holding up a shower, rubbing the matte black finish of a tap, and running his hands along the smooth curves of the ceramics. The products were obviously all delightful to touch.
“It’s the same curve we use here – and here,” Hayon said, showing us how the lip of the basin is echoed, in form, in the edge of the console table below. “The inspiration came from the contours of the human body. Sometimes the obvious thing to consider turns out to be the right place to look, especially when you are designing something so inexorably intertwined with bodily function. I thought about the curves of the human form, of the lack of harsh angles in our bodies, and decided that every element had to reflect the human body in a way.”
Hayon, who started his career as a ceramicist, had imagined this collection of sanitary ware, fittings, furniture and accessories as sculptured silhouettes. He was interested in aesthetics of harmony and fluidity, of concepts of empty and full, but also bent on the very modern, technical pursuit of thinness. Colour, humour and emotions are thrown in as well; hanging above the elegantly shaped sinks and their stone consoles are mirrors that come with noses and ears.
The expressiveness is informed by Hayon’s observation that the bathroom is now an extension of the living room. He explained, “I would say the bathroom is not something that you just want to hide, it is more like another part of the house that you actually want to show. In fact, you want to show the bathroom as much as you show your living room. We took that into consideration when we thought about this collection. We thought the bathroom should be designed with dignity.”
The presentation of the collection (in the showroom and in the product catalogue, both of which Hayon designed) was also therefore scenographic in approach. He shared, “I wanted to create an atmosphere, a box in which you have different colours, so you can see different ideas and how they fit with the collection.”
Hayon shared that the main challenge of this project was combining the technical systems with the forms and aesthetic he had imagined for the collection. “TOTO is the best in the world when it comes to technology, engineering and systems. When you work with TOTO, you are working with a company that is very serious about quality of the highest level, but at the same time we wanted to be able to play a little bit.”
Holding up a flat, beautifully finished chrome showerhead for us to see, Hayon jested, “This looks simple but believe me, this shower took us one and a half years! It is a very nice-diameter shower, it has a beautiful pressure, it has all the massage functions, but it is still very thin and you can hold it up easily. You can look at it and say, ‘Who is more beautiful than me?’”
He added, “This is a supremely technical kind of design as function is everything, so with things like taps I concentrated on how it would feel in your hand, the ease of motion, the rounded shapes. The tactile quality was important. There are things we did technically that I am very pleased with. I think the whole project is about a search for simplicity of form, and the sophistication of function”.
Hayon emphasised that the project was not about reinventing the wheel, but about “playing a little”: “The tap has this almost helicopter-like part on top. The cross-section grip has been used for a long time but I wanted to push for a smoother, softer edge… I wanted things to feel familiar rather than novel.”
Catch a glimpse of Jaime Hayon’s lecture and TOTO showroom tour in Jakarta in our gallery below. Also displayed in the showroom were some of Hayon’s furniture pieces for Fritz Hansen. Both TOTO and Fritz Hansen are available in Singapore from W. Atelier.
And take a peek inside TOTO’s factory in Indonesia here:
Cubes and Indesignlive.sg travelled to Jakarta with W. Atelier for the launch of the TOTO by Hayon collection. Contact W. Atelier for more information on TOTO by Hayon.
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