LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Frédéric Haven ("FH") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

FH : I don't have a specific design background. I only have relevant working experience in the natural stone industry and customization of luxurious kitchens.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

FH : Emotion. I was always attracted to emotionally approached end-products. Meaning a car or a table. These are objects that enhance emotions and connections between people, generations and cultures. This is why I became a designer myself, to be a part of something bigger.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

FH : I chose to become a designer.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

FH : Emotionally approached end-products, such as a dining table.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

FH : Focus on the current market of your product. Make a thorough existing solutions analysis and market investigation.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

FH : I would say simplicity but as a matter of fact, this also depends on the type of market and type of business model, so i can't actually answer this.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

FH : Every visible line and form should offer functional purpose next to the aesthetic value.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

FH : The value can be a story, a USP, original technology or rare material. It can be many many things. I believe value should be created for the customer and / or user. If not, why do we further design in an already saturated market.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

FH : I would design beautiful and functional products for people that I know, and that will appreciate and utilize them.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

FH : Dreams come and go, life evolves continuously. I don't have 1 dream project that I want to design or realize.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

FH : product knowledge of the materials I use.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

FH : Pierre De Valck

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

FH : Pierre De Valck cabinet and lamp.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

FH : The Papillon dining table. It's unique in multiple ways.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

FH : Investigate the market and the existing solutions. Create a proper Business Plan.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

FH : Management Consultancy

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

FH : Function follows form and form follows trends.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

FH : My family and friends.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

FH : Not giving up.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

FH : Budgets, wrong prototyping, wrong partnerships.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

FH : With passion and a sales training.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

FH : More high-quality luxurious tables and benches for indoor and outdoor usage.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

FH : Build a succesful Furniture Design Brand and teach others how to build a brand once my brand is succesful enough.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

FH : They expect high standards.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

FH : People can enjoy it or not.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

FH : A very nice looking bench.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

FH : The Papillon dining table and the Marcello dining table. Because of the challenge to design tables like that.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

FH : Products that offer more value for the customers and users.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

FH : I cannot predict the future.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

FH : 1 year to 1,5 years.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

FH : With an existing solutions analysis and market investigation.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

FH : Do it with passion or not at all.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

FH : Both are true.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

FH : Technology plays an interesting role when I design.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

FH : The software and equipment that is available to me and my freelance engineers.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

FH : The world is full of colors, I design with colors that act complementary. The materials play the biggest role in my designs.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

FH : Why did I design it in a certain way or or with certain materials.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

FH : At first I have a lot of admiration and respect for the designer. After that, possible markets and business models come into my mind.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

FH : I certainly believe in co-design. I like to cooperate with extreme talents. Extremely talented in technical architecture, construction engineering or on the other hand, people that are extremely creative and think extremely out of the box.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

FH : People with more experience than I had.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

FH : By practice and investigation

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

FH : The actors of my al time favorite movies.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

FH : I am not famous at all but I appreciate all the awards and recognition I can get.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

FH : Blue, Italy, Italian, Spring, sharing food with loved ones and Porsche.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

FH : The slogan of my brand "Havani" is "Share a Lifetime", reflecting on durability and the life spent around the centerpiece at home (table). I was at Maison et Objet in January 2020, explaining why I think tables have something magical to it and I had one customer who was fighting in the Balkan war in 1992 and told me he understood me because he was the one always building tables with wood he found for his army colleagues.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

FH : With sales.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

FH : No.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

FH : Everything and everyone will be numbered and tracked.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

FH : I love to have real conversations and I love to learn from others. When I'm the smartest man in the room, I believe I'm in the wrong room. Also, I always aim for win-win situations, keep all parties happy and aim for long-term relationships professionally and privately.

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF MY FAMILY, FRIENDS AND PARTNERS, I GAVE BIRTH TO A VISION AND ESTABLISHED THE HAVANI FURNITURE BRAND IN 2019. AFTER A DECADE OF SELLING EMOTIONALLY APPROACHED PRODUCTS, I PARTICIPATED IN MY FATHER'S CONSULTANCY FIRM - FRENICO INTERNATIONAL BVBA - THAT'S MAINLY EXPERIENCED IN THE CARPET- AND NATURAL STONE INDUSTRY, WHERE I LEARNED HOW COMPANIES START-UP, GROW AND/OR STRATEGICALLY TRANSFORM WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE FLEMISH GOVERNMENT (VLAIO). I INVESTED IN A LONGTERM MANAGEMENT COURSE AT THE VLERICK BUSINESS SCHOOL AND FOUND AN OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE MY OWN BRAND OF EMOTIONALLY APPROACHED PRODUCTS: HAVANI.


Marcello Dining Table

Marcello Dining Table by Frédéric Haven

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