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Interview with Frédéric Haven

Home > Designer Interviews > Frédéric Haven

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Frédéric Haven (FH) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Frédéric Haven by clicking here.

Interview with Frédéric Haven at Tuesday 5th of May 2020
Frédéric Haven
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
FH: Ever since my youth, I've been very passionate about cars, preferably sports cars. I loved all the forms and lines, and how they connected or didn't connect. I also loved them in different colors because my first impression of the same vehicule in a dark or in a light color, was totally different. I believe my passion for design and luxurious materials, originated from my love for sportscars.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
FH: I've started this company in 2018, one year after my Business School education. The company was established to build the Havani brand. We wanted to start with dining tables and add add coffee tables and benches as followed. Furthermore, we focus always focus on the customer journey and experience. When clients visit our company, they are delighted with a tour and training about the characteristics of natural stone. On our site, we have access to the warehouses of our neighbour with 55000m² of natural stones. This is the best possible way to share our passion with our customers, when they visit us.

FS: What is "design" for you?
FH: When all visible forms and lines, offer functional purpose next to an impressive aesthetic value.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
FH: Unique and original table frames.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
FH: The Havani Papillon Ellips dining table. It's amazing how I managed to create such a beautiful table that was never invented before. To make every leg dismountable and connect them so elegantly in a centered octagon that can be finished with the same material as the tabletop, was an incredible achievement for me. Furthermore the short table legs are assymetricly positioned compared to the long table legs, which was mandatory for users not to touch the frame with their knees allround.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
FH: The Marcello dining table for Havani.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
FH: Brazillian Quartzite because it has similar characteristics as granite with the looks of marble but without the disadvantages of it.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
FH: When I'm swimming.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
FH: Function

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
FH: Family, friends, generations, cultures, connections, education, tradition, pain and happiness.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
FH: Excitement of course.

FS: What makes a design successful?
FH: When people want it and when they want to pay the price for it.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
FH: Function, stability, aesthetics and if it fits the current or upcoming trends.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
FH: Create something useful and durable.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
FH: I cannot say, i can only feel upcoming trends and trends evolving from thin to thick and from straight to slightly bowed and so on.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
FH: Maison et Objet 2020, next exhibition might be Biennale Interieur 2020 at Kortrijk, or Design September in Brussels.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
FH: I investigate the market and try to create a design that brings value to the market and to the end-customer. For example, with the Marcello and the Papillon dining tables, I've focused on bending thin steel sheets, as minimalistic as possible. In the market are many tubular steel frames, which are easier and cheaper. This way the craftsmanship difficulty, becomes a value for the customer.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
FH: Elegant, slim, neat, sleek, modern, minimal and simplistic designs. It's more of a challenge to make something strong and stable with minimal use of materials and therefore it's more of a value to the customer in my opinion.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
FH: Belgium near the creative city "Gent". I believe there is a great community in our country with talented design blood but above all, Belgium is full of small family companies that are now 3rd generation or more. These companies still specialise in a certain skill and material.

FS: How do you work with companies?
FH: I involve my Business Partners in our Business Development. They are an integrated part of our Business Model and so must understand and follow our vision and mission. I make clear understandings and agreements and always aim for longterm cooperations, because only then you can serve quality to your customers and keep serving them quality.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
FH: I don't have that experience.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
FH: It starts with an idea, followed by a market investigation and trend investigation. Only then we start drawing and when a drawing starts forming potential aestheticly and functionally, I will start the engineering and prototyping process.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
FH: Of course our Marcello outdoor table and our Papillon indoor table. We have a coffee table with a unique Brazillian Quartzite and I love our design lamp from my friend Pierre De Valck. I also adore driving my oldtimer Porsche 968.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
FH: I wake up, shower, eat some bread for breakfast, go to the company, check my e-mails and agenda for meetings or deliveries, have a warm lunch mostly, have more meetings or deliveries in the afternoon and before I go home I try to do some marketing or checkin with our suppliers to follow up on deliveries. I go home and have dinner. If possible, I go swimming 2 times a week and once a week I play badminton and once a week I play squash. Sunny days I like to BBQ and see my friends.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
FH: Make sure you workout an entire Business Plan when they decide to market their designs. Too many fail to market their products (that are full of potential!!), because they lack Business Management skills. So my advice would be to find a trustworthy partner or hire a consultant .

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
FH: no comment.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
FH: Less is more.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
FH: Think outside the box.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
FH: A freelance engineer, strength calculations, tension calculations, hardware: laser, bending machine, welding metals, corten steel, coatings, waterjet cutting, etc..

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
FH: The designing fases are planned in a timeline, which is an integral part of the total Business Plan. That means I plan months of designing and prototyping in the timeline, to achieve a certain minimum collection. I keep other prototypes in the "freezer", to continue working on later in a next fase when 1) there is time available, 2) it's necessary to refresh the collection and bring new designs in the brand.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
FH: 1 year

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
FH: How did you do all this?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
FH: Executing the theoretical Business Plan of creating a new brand (Havani) of High-end furniture with luxurious materials.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
FH: Furniture shops, doctors, Business owners, Luxurious garden architects, interior architects, small offices.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
FH: Tables because a table is the only object that is at the center of a home and has the ability to enhance the connections between people, generations and cultures.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
FH: Build up a B2B dealer network with Havani samplesets and natural stone training.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
FH: I work with a team.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
FH: I have works-in-progress but I don't want to talk about it.

FS: How can people contact you?
FH: Via e-mail: frederic@havani.eu, or via Facebook or Instagram: "havanihi", or via whatsapp +32473982373

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
FH: no


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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