Object of desire Spanish designer Jaime Hayón turned the oh-so-serious image of French crystal house, Baccarat on its head with his Crystal Candy collection.
In the hands - or perhaps more accurately, the fertile imagination - of Jaime Hayón, the oh-so-serious image of the venerable French crystal house, Baccarat, was turned on its head when it revealed the Spanish designer's Crystal Candy collection earlier this year. But that's hardly surprising for a designer who has famously been photographed in a pink rabbit suit and succeeded in making even those embarrassingly kitsch porcelain figurines from the Spanish company, Lladro, chic again. And it was he who created Tournament, the giant-sized chess game that was installed in London's Trafalgar Square last month, to great acclaim.
There's an element of almost Dalí-esque surrealism in Hayón's fantasy world, populated as it is by everyday objects that are made playful and friendly - often with an anthropomorphic quality - and make it impossible not to smile. Take Nuclear Pomegranate; it's perhaps my favourite piece of the nine Crystal Candy characters (yes, they call them "characters", not pieces) although that often changes when I look again at photos of the others. If the name alone doesn't make you smile, surely its friendly, slightly animalistic shape will do it. Added to which, at about 40 centimetres tall, it's exactly the size of a cuddly pet.
Not that you would risk picking it up to cuddle: as a limited edition of 25 pieces it is exceeding;ly rare, as well as precious. But, far from being frivolous, this piece harnesses the finest of Baccarat's very considerable skills, its crystal base combining intricate and original cutting with deliciously saturated colour that captures the exact shade of pomegranate juice. The smooth, creamy white of the copper porcelain top is a perfect foil for the brilliant colour and those "ears"... yes, they do make me smile.
Dh45,545. Available by special order from Baccarat Boutique, Dubai Mall, 04 339 8942 and Tanagra, Abu Dhabi Mall, 02 645 8300; www.baccarat.com