See The Guest of Lladró, an iconic sculptural masterpiece of the modern era
Ten years ago, renowned Spanish artist-designer Jaime Hayon designed The Guest, a sculptural masterpiece that has become Lladró’s most captivating character.
A multi-faceted work of art, The Guest has since been an inspirational blank canvas for famous artists of different nationalities to tell their stories through iconographic languages.
Jaime started the collection with a focus on craftsmanship, drawing inspiration from his personal experiences. His repertoire includes the design of numerous pieces of furniture, shoes, watches, lighting, art installations, ceramics and other home accessories. Named one of the 100 most important designers of our time by Times magazine, Jaime’s groundbreaking vision blurs the lines between art, decor and design. The Madrid artist speaks through The Guest, winking at the themes historically favored by Lladró, such as love and childhood.
Pushing the boundaries with a subtle sense of humor, Jaime finds his creative spark ignited by Lladró’s unique craftsmanship. “I wanted to be part of the evolution of the company; my intention was never a revolution. For several generations, its craftsmen have acquired the mastery of an art and techniques. My task was to add that extra contemporary touch,” he explains.
Artists influenced by the Lladró craftsmen’s passion for detail include Tim Biskup, Devilrobots, Gary Baseman, Rolito, Paul Smith and many more. Each brings to the table new concepts, designs and colors on the same canvas. Through inspired collaborations, each creates irreverent yet distinguished figurines that have become icons of the 21st century.
“Today, the ability of art to make us dream, imagine, reflect and even aspire is really important. Artistic explorations testify more and more to this particular way of projecting oneself into realities that move us and make us feel,” shares Jaime. The guest reflects his desire to demonstrate that tradition is open to experimentation and can lead to unexpected and singularly original conceptual paths.
In The Guest project, there is something exceptional that appeals to everyone. American artist Tim Biskup expresses his vision of a “populist aesthetic”, playing with patterns of skulls and raindrops in connection with nature. Conversely, the Japanese design team Devilrobots uses cheerful colors, polka dots and stripes with the purity of black to create fun, emotive and extravagant expressions in keeping with their expertise in toy design.
Meanwhile, eclectic artist Gary Baseman lends his “adorably perverted” vision to creating beautifully bizarre otherworldly iterations of The Guest that are certain to serve as iconic conversation starters in any space. of life. Rolito’s guest imagines a superhero of the night, protecting sleepers and warding off nightmares with his trusty sidekick. The celebrated French designer and illustrator borrowed inspiration for the concept from his young son to interpret the statuesque pair with a comforting grip.
British designer Paul Smith took a different approach. “These are pieces I would love to have in my home. Upbeat, fun, cheerful, full of color and humor is what makes them Forge“, mentions the creator. Sprinkled with confetti and covered in cat and dog masks, Smith’s whimsical expressions blend tradition and modernity with ease. “Each one is created and painted by hand in the Lladró workshops in Valencia, which is increasingly unusual in our computerized and mechanized world,” concludes Paul.
Lladró’s cooperative effort with international artists is nothing short of extraordinary. Porcelain experts navigate their own unique artisanal processes through close collaboration, drawing on nearly 70 years of in-depth knowledge as decorators and craftsmen working materials by hand, from chemistry to modelling, carving, relief, engraving and painting. Age-old craftsmanship and techniques remain alive, transforming porcelain into delicate, fun, elegant and groundbreaking works of art. The artisanal process behind The Guest, with the countless steps involved, proves how rewarding and fruitful the tandem of contemporary design and traditional endeavors is.
“Understanding, appreciating and learning from craftsmanship has always been a crucial element of my work, which is a mixture of tradition and culture. To preserve this source of learning, it is necessary to combine it with design, in view to advance craft techniques and contextualize their value in the present,” says Jaime.
This spring, Lladró is opening its first store at Bangsar Shopping Center in Kuala Lumpur. Designed according to the concept created in collaboration with renowned architect and interior designer Héctor Ruiz Velázquez, the stunning boutique is the first of its kind in the country. Aimed at those with sophisticated tastes and a deep appreciation for enduring and modern artistic expressions, Lladró is ready to share its artisan wonders with a new generation of Malaysians.
(All images: Lladró)
This story by Lladró on The Guest was first published in the June 2022 issue of Prestige Malaysia. To read the latest issue, pick up a copy at the nearest newsstand or subscribe on Magzter.