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The Wonder Pavilion

We caught up with Jaime Hayon at Palazzo Serbelloni in Milan, where Caesarstone unveiled his latest wonderland: a fun take on the idea of the pavilion with a Hayon-esque dose of eccentricity.

The Wonder Pavilion

Photography by Tom Mannion

Things have gotten a little crazy in the ballroom at Palazzo Serbelloni – the late eighteenth-century palace in Corso Venezia, Milan. And we mean that in an entirely good way! Caesarstone has continued its Designer Collaboration Programme (which last year saw Tom Dixon create a series of experimental kitchens inside a deconsecrated church), and this year Jaime Hayon has turned up the fun factor with a kaleidoscopic pavilion that mixes references and upturns expectations of enquineered quartz.

Stone Age Folk is the pinnacle event of the brand’s year-long collaboration with Hayon. Earlier this year we reported on his series of furniture that used Caesarstone in a type of punchy new-age marquetry: cabinets with faces, bird-shaped tables and more. This concept takes a more architectural form in Milan, where the same set of inspirations (flora, fauna and folklore from various cultures) has manifested in a walk-in riot of shapes, patterns and colours.

“I tried to reinvent marquetry with my aesthetic,” Hayon told us. “I thought the challenge here was to raise the voice of the Caesarstone material – to make it stand out more. It’s a twenty-first-century type of stone and when you assemble it together and make marquetry, you can create something really special,” he said.

The pavilion, which has a hand-assembled metal structure, incorporates 48 Caesarstone colours as well as coloured glass that casts graphic shadows onto the palace walls. Tribal masks and clown faces appear at a large scale in wall panels, alongside spinning carousels made with Caesarstone, and other furniture pieces.

“This is an installation that started a long time ago in my brain – this idea of making a pavilion. Once in a while a case study, a pavilion, or a special ephemeral architectural element comes into place within the history of design and architecture, in a universal expo for example. There have been a lot of examples – from Josef Hoffmann’s Austrian pavilion to the Crystal Palace to case studies by the Eameses and Le Corbusier.”

He continues, “I just wasn’t sure what materials would work. I wanted to make something a little bit wild. Things clicked when I met Caesarstone and it became a great opportunity. What I always try to find, especially now at this moment in my career, is people who want to do something that will push the limits.”

What does he hope people who visit the pavilion will take away from the experience? “I already saw it just now – exactly what I want people to feel. ‘Wah? What’s that?’ This effect of being surprised. Design today is not only about creating functional stuff. It’s also about being surprised, and challenging the material and challenging the creativity.”

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